Midwest markets under observation

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is to put together a team to monitor the USA Midwest power markets this summer. FERC has said that the team will be a low-key organization whose main aim will be to ensure that last summer`s severe price spikes do not happen again.

FERC`s investigation of the market turmoil concluded that no single company or participant was responsible for the incident. Utilities reported millions of dollars of energy trading losses while several power-marketing companies were forced out of business by the price spikes, which saw prices rising from $20/MWh to as much as $4900/MWh.

The monitoring group will be based in Washington and will have three goals: collecting and analysing data from last summer and developing forecasts for this year; maintaining contact with market participants; and determining what actions would be needed in the event of another crisis.

• Enron Power Marketing has asked US regulators to approve power purchase agreements relating to three peaking power plants being built in Tennessee and Mississippi. The open cycle gas turbine plants have a combined capacity of 1290 MW and will be commissioned by mid-summer.