THE SPECIAL OREGON CONNECTION
STATEMENT OF RALPH NADER
January 22, 2002
The Enron debacle has produced big losers and big winners in Oregon.
Over 1 million Oregonians, the ratepayers of Enron/PGE, are already big losers, thanks to the $400 million rate increase last October resulting from manipulation of California and West Coast energy markets by Enron and other companies.
The 3000 employees of PGE/Enron have lost tens of millions of dollars from their 401k retirement plans, because Enron's contributions were Enron stock that could not be sold by the employees prior to age 50 or during the plan lockdown last October.
At least 2 former top PGE executives are big winners. Former CEO Ken Harrison and former Treasurer Joe Hirko made $110 million by exercising their Enron stock options and selling the stock near its peak (in 2000).
PGE ratepayers stand to lose another $1-2 billion or more, because the Enron bankruptcy process could divest the hydropower plants and the transmission lines that the ratepayers have been paying for over the past 40-50 years.
We call upon the Oregon Legislature's special session in February to activate the Oregon State Power Authority, which was created by Oregon voters and placed in the Oregon Constitution in 1932. The Authority could then acquire PGE's hydroelectric and transmission assets by eminent domain, preserving their value for Oregon ratepayers.
We also ask the two former PGE executives, Harrison and Hirko, to disgorge the $110 million they received from selling their Enron stock before the collapse. The money could aid those PGE employees whose retirement plans were devastated or could be devoted to Oregon schools, which now face budget cuts.
Enron was an influence-peddling syndicate based on political contributions. I urge Oregon voters to sign the petitions to put the campaign finance reform initiative (Petition 43) on the ballot for November.