California Schemin’: How Enron Fleeced the Golden State
Another group of individuals negatively affected by the deceitful actions of Enron management were the citizens of California. The California energy crisis of 2000-2001 took advantage of California energy consumers by manipulating loopholes found within the then-deregulated state. Jeff Skilling himself told policymakers in California that energy deregulation would lower electric bills by billions of dollars and ultimately prove to be a benefit for millions of California’s citizens. Instead, consumers were forced to pay prices that were 300-400% higher than historical trends had projected. Enron manipulated the California energy market by illegally shutting down key strategic pipelines within the state. This shortage resulted in large-scale rolling blackouts and, thus, an artificially heightened demand for energy. In the end, the Enron-backed deregulation disaster cost California $40 to $45 billion and nearly bankrupted the state’s entire economy.