Timeline of events in PUD’s fight with Enron

The David vs. Goliath matchup between Snohomish County PUD and Enron Corp. started in 2003. Here’s a timeline of how it all began:

* January 1999: The first evidence appears of Enron using an energy marketing schemes dubbed “Silver Peak.”

* January 2000: Enron begins using its schemes on Western energy markets on a large scale. The energy crisis is officially launched.

* January 2001: The PUD negotiates with Enron to buy 25 megawatts of electricity at record prices.

* January 2001: The PUD raises its rates 33 percent. The rate hike is linked to the Enron contract.

* April 2001: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission puts price caps in place in California.

* June 2001: FERC extends the price caps to the entire West, finally sending electricity prices back toward normal.

* October 2001: The PUD raises its rates 18 percent, also linked to the Enron contract.

* November 2001: Enron demands in a letter that the PUD send it $100 million if it wants to “lock in its contract.”

* Nov. 28, 2001: The PUD ends its contract with Enron.

* Dec. 2, 2001: Enron files for bankruptcy.

* February 2002: The U.S. Department of Justice seizes 190 digital tapes detailing some 24,000 hours of Enron trader conversations. FERC doesn’t provide the tapes to the PUD, saying it can’t get them from the Justice Department.

* April 2002: The PUD lowers its rates 5.1 percent. Rates remain 50 percent higher than in 2000, and haven’t come down since 2002.

* January 2003: Enron sues the PUD, charging that the utility illegally canceled the contract and claiming that the PUD owes it $117 million plus interest.

* March 2003: FERC issues a report that says Enron illegally manipulated the electricity market and that all profits from June 26, 2003, on are to be refunded. The ruling doesn’t cancel the contract the PUD signed with Enron in 2001.

* January 2004: The PUD receives 10 percent of the tapes, amounting to 2,966 hours of Enron conversations, the ones most likely to show that traders engaged in illegal activity.

* March 2004: The PUD sets up a listening room and hires temporary employees to review the tapes. The PUD spends more than $2 million preparing its case against Enron, much of it for transcribing the tapes.

* May 2004: The PUD releases its first wave of telephone transcripts, bringing the utility national attention, including a story in the Los Angeles Times.

* May 2004: CBS News broadcasts excerpts from the tapes. It takes only minutes for bedlam to ensue. Interest in the tapes is so overwhelming that the PUD has to create an emergency Web site so people can download the conversations. The Web site takes so many hits that the Internet provider for all of Santa Cruz, Calif., crashes.

* August 2005: FERC’s Enron trial is scheduled to start.

* January 2006: Administrative Law Judge Carmen Cintron is expected to decide whether the PUD has to pay Enron more than $122 million.

Source: Snohomish County PUD

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