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Feds accuse JP Morgan Chase of manipulating electric prices in Wis., 15 other states

Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Judge's Gavel By Brian Turner (Flickr: My Trusty Gavel) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - Federal energy officials have accused JP Morgan-Chase of manipulating electric prices in Wisconsin, 14 other Midwest states, and California.

In a notice Monday, the Energy Regulatory Commission said the bank used improper bidding strategies to get excessive payments from the operators of the power grids in the Midwest and California.

Media reports say Morgan-Chase is trying to negotiate a settlement over the allegations but the bank would not comment on that. 

Recently the government fined Barclays $453-million for manipulating the prices of electricity in Western states that include California.

The regulatory agency said it found evidence of improper trading practices at Morgan’s energy corporation in Houston.

The firm has contracts with various power producers to trade electricity.

The government said Morgan-Chase was given special fees to put power plants on advance stand-by modes, thus allowing the plants to sell power at higher prices for users to meet last-minute energy needs.

One of Morgan-Chase’s deals involved the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator, which shuttles power between 15 states in the nation’s mid-section, including Wisconsin and three of its neighboring states – Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois.

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