* PRESS RELEASE * PRESS RELEASE * PRESS RELEASE * PRESS RELEASE *
DEAL TO BUY PACIFICORP
Today, Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., announced it has agreed to buy PacifiCorp from Britain's Scottish Power Plc for $5.1 billion.
“This shows that, as long as the assets of cash cow monopoly utilities are in private hands, they will continue to be subject to endless financial maneuvering,” said Dan Meek, attorney for the Utility Reform Project.
This is the second sale of PacifiCorp in the past 6 years. PGE was sold to Enron in 1997. Since then, Enron made deals to sell PGE to Sierra Pacific Power (which failed), to Northwest Natural Gas (which failed), and to Texas Pacific Group (which failed).
Unlike nearly all “public interest groups” in Oregon, the Project and Meek opposed Enron’s purchase of PGE in 1996 and 1997 in testimony before the Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC). Meek testified then that Enron would try “manipulating the PGE assets it is acquiring, particularly PGE's 800+ megawatt share of the Pacific Intertie transmission system between the Northwest and California" and that "protecting Oregon ratepayers from complicated shell games will be an entirely new and more difficult task for the PUC." The PUC rejected his advice and approved the Enron takeover, thus subjecting PGE ratepayers to the huge rate increase when indeed Enron/PGE did engage in energy market manipulation, not to mention the huge losses for PGE employees in their 401k pension plans.
"In 1996, Enron was thought to be the most stable and best-run corporation in America,” said Meek. “It repeatedly received awards from business groups for its innovation and responsibility, but it was all a fraud.”
“If the Oregon PUC could not regulate Enron, how does it expect to regulate Berkshire Hathaway?”