The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled yesterday against California and Gray Davis, who was seeking a $9 billion refund from energy producers. Instead, the FERC found that California owed $1.2 billion to energy producers. This is a fitting tribute to Davis’s mismanagement. Since this controversy began in the wake of a series of rolling blackouts and skyrocketing energy costs, Davis has treated the entire ordeal as nothing more than a political operation. He has screamed for $9 billion in refunds, but has been repudiated time after time for what is at best "fuzzy" math. The message is clear: when conditions (some of which had to do with inflated natural gas prices, and some of which have to do with state regulation) make it costly to produce energy in your state, the consumers end up paying the price. Even in the post-Enron era, simply blaming companies for the state’s failure to properly manage its energy policy won’t do.
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