Monday, September 23, 2002

Bad El Paso Corp.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Texas energy company tightened California natural gas supplies during the state's energy crisis, contributing to a rise in power prices, a federal regulatory judge ruled Monday.

El Paso Corp., through its pipeline subsidiary, held back at least 10 percent of the capacity on its pipelines delivering gas from its Southwest fields to California from November 2000 to March 2001, during a period of high demand and large price increases for natural gas, said Judge Curtis L. Wagner, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's chief administrative law judge.

El Paso ``withheld extremely large amounts of capacity that it could have flowed to its California delivery points,'' Wagner said.