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Electricity traders at Enron drove up prices during the California power crisis through questionable techniques that company lawyers said ''may have contributed'' to severe power shortages, according to internal Enron documents released today by federal regulators.

Within Enron, the documents show, traders used strategies code-named Fat Boy, Ricochet, Get Shorty, Load Shift and Death Star to increase Enron's profits from trading power in the state -- techniques that added to electricity costs and congestion on transmission lines.

The documents -- memorandums written in December 2000 by lawyers at Enron to another lawyer at the company -- also describe ''dummied-up'' power-delivery schedules, the submission of ''false information'' to the state, and the effective increasing of costs to all market participants by ''knowingly increasing the congestion costs.''

The memos, which provide the first inside look at the complex trading strategies Enron used in California, give strong ammunition to state officials who have long argued that Enron and other power marketers manipulated the state's market and played a crucial role in the crisis that cost California consumers and utilities tens of billions of dollars in 2000 and 2001. The documents state that other power companies used similar techniques.

Tonight, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said she would ask Attorney General John Ashcroft ''to pursue a criminal investigation to determine whether in fact federal fraud statutes or any other laws were violated'' by Enron's energy-trading activities. Federal prosecutors are already conducting an inquiry into Enron's accounting, which falsely increased reported profits but ultimately led to the company's filing for bankruptcy protection in December.

Enron agreed to sell its energy-trading unit earlier this year to UBS Warburg, a division of UBS, Switzerland's largest bank. Nearly all of Enron's senior executives, and most of its board members, have departed in the last nine months.

Enron's senior management learned of the documents in late April, and the company's board decided during a meeting on Sunday to waive attorney-client privilege and turn the memos over to investigators at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a person close to the company said. The company has also informed the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the attorney general of California about the documents.

At a noon meeting today, lawyers for Enron gave the memos to investigators from the regulatory commission, which is examining whether Enron manipulated energy markets in the West. The agency released the documents a few hours later. Officials at the commission declined to comment, but they are continuing their investigation into Enron's effect on power prices and asked the company today to provide additional documents on its electricity and natural-gas trading activities.

In a letter sent by officials at the commission today to Enron, investigators at the agency said the documents described how Enron traders were ''creating, and then 'relieving,' phantom congestion'' on California's electricity grid. The documents also detail what investigators described as ''megawatt laundering,'' in which Enron bought power in California, resold the power out of the state and then bought the power back and resold it back into California -- allowing Enron to circumvent price caps meant to clamp down on costs.

''These documents prove that these companies can manipulate the market,'' said Loretta Lynch, the president of the California Public Utilities Commission. ''Enron prevented California from seeing these documents for years, and now we know why.''

Ms. Lynch said the documents supported her argument that FERC should leave in place temporary electricity price restraints, introduced last June, which state officials say have played a large role in reining in prices. ''I don't see how FERC can remove the boundaries they put in place on our market last June.''

An outside lawyer for Enron, Robert S. Bennett, said he could not comment on the trading strategies described in the documents. ''Because we have sold the trading unit and the people with the knowledge of trading practices are no longer with the company, we do not know what the true facts are, and we do not know which parts of the memoranda are correct and which parts are incorrect,'' Mr. Bennett said tonight.

But he emphasized that the company had agreed to waive that attorney-client privilege because it was trying to cooperate with the various investigations into Enron's business practices. ''These memoranda came to the attention of the board and current management in late April, and the board instructed its counsel to not assert the attorney-client privilege and produce these documents to the appropriate government entities,'' Mr. Bennett said.

Another memo written by a separate group of lawyers for Enron in 2001 -- apparently in January or February, after soaring wholesale power prices in California pushed the state's largest utilities to the brink of insolvency -- tried to play down the strategies described in the December 2000 memos.

In this later memo, which was written to prepare Enron for the ''various investigations and litigation'' it faced because of the California power crisis, the lawyers repeatedly tried to play down or cast doubt on the conclusions drawn by Enron's own lawyers in the earlier memos.

''Some of the information'' in the earlier memos ''which resulted in some erroneous assumptions and conclusions, cannot be supported by the facts and evidence which are now known,'' the later memo stated.

In one strategy described in the December 2000 memos, Enron would buy power from a state-run exchange for $250 a megawatt-hour -- the maximum under the price caps -- and resell it outside California for almost five times as much.

''Thus, traders could buy power at $250 and sell it for $1,200,'' according to one memo. In that document, the Enron lawyers acknowledged that such activity could be playing a big role in causing electricity shortages in the state, but they suggested that was not a significant concern.

''This strategy appears not to present any problems,'' the memo stated, ''other than a public relations risk arising from the fact that such exports may have contributed to California's declaration of a Stage 2 Emergency yesterday.''

The Death Star strategy, as described in the memos, allowed Enron to be paid ''for moving energy to relieve congestion without actually moving any energy or relieving any congestion.''

And the Load Shift strategy allowed Enron to generate about $30 million in profits in 2000 using techniques that, according to the documents, included creating ''the appearance of congestion through the deliberate overstatement'' of power to be delivered.

In the past, Enron officials said the California power crisis was caused by the state's deeply flawed electricity deregulation plan, the lack of new power-generation capacity and by temporary factors, like a drought that drastically reduced available hydropower. Even some economists who think price manipulation was widespread say these other factors contributed to soaring prices.

But Enron executives always insisted that absolutely nothing their traders had done contributed to the crisis. In an interview last year, Enron's former chairman, Kenneth L. Lay, dismissed accusations that manipulation was even partly to blame for California's troubles.

''Every time there's a shortage or a little bit of a price spike, it's always collusion or conspiracy or something,'' Mr. Lay said in the interview, which was also taped for ''Frontline'' on PBS. ''I mean, it always makes people feel better that way.''

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