BOISE, Idaho, June 28, 2002 — IDACORP Inc. said a June 27 Washington Post article, regarding a July 2000 telephone conversation between an energy trader at Idaho Power and an energy trader at Puget Sound Energy, misinterpreted the telephone conversation.
The article appears to be based on documents that were filed by Puget Sound Energy with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in response to the recent investigation into California power market conditions in 2000 and 2001. The documents included a transcript of the July 2000 telephone conversation.
This conversation did not relate to inflating prices in the California market, rather it was an effort to find a way to continue to access lower cost Northwest power to reduce costs for Idaho Power customers.
The Post article reported that the intent of the conversation was to coordinate sales to California to inflate prices. In fact, Idaho Power was purchasing surplus Northwest energy at the California/Oregon Border (COB) market to serve its own customers.
Because of transmission constraints, this Northwest energy was unable to flow to California. Idaho Power had been purchasing daily transmission from the Puget Transmission group to move this power from COB to John Day, Oregon. The transmission path then became unavailable.
Wondering if Puget Sound Energy had reserved all of Puget’s transmission from COB to John Day for the balance of July and all of August to serve utility retail load in the state of Washington, the Idaho Power trader called Puget.
The purpose of the call was to verify that Puget was in fact using this transmission for native load and to determine if there was any possibility of Idaho Power using some of the transmission to access the COB market. At the time, Idaho Power, a utility dependent on hydropower, was suffering the effects of low water conditions which have continued through 2001 and 2002.
“The traders were not discussing ways to inflate prices in California as the Post article reported,” said Rich Riazzi, IDACORP Executive Vice President and President of IDACORP Energy. “We feel that the Post reporter must have misunderstood and this led to a mischaracterization of the intent of the call. It was unfortunate that he was unable to reach Idaho Power officials before going to press with his story. In any event, the conversation never did result in a transaction between the two companies.”
The company’s responses to FERC’s recent inquiries related to the California market are posted on IDACORP Energy’s web site, http://www.idacorpenergy.com/ .
The responses were filed on behalf of both IDACORP Energy and affiliate Idaho Power, as IDACORP Energy was operated as a business unit of Idaho Power during a portion of the time under review.
Boise, Idaho-based IDACORP, formed in 1998, is a holding company comprised of: Idaho Power, a regulated electric utility; Ida-West Energy, an independent power project management and development arm; IDACORP Energy, a marketer of energy and energy related products and services; IDACORP Financial, an investment vehicle which makes investments primarily in affordable housing projects; IdaTech, a developer and producer of fully integrated fuel cell systems; and IDACOMM, a telecommunications subsidiary providing high-speed Internet access technologies.