MORE ENRON TAPES….Guess what? New Enron tapes were released yesterday, and they contain some of the clearest evidence yet of Enron’s strategy of deliberately creating electricity shortages by shutting down power plants during the California power crisis:

According to the newly released transcript, Enron traders on Jan. 16, 2001, hatched a plan to take an Enron-controlled power plant in Las Vegas off-line the following day. In a phone call, “Bill of Enron” informed “Rich,” a Las Vegas power plant employee, that “we want you guys to get a little creative…and come up with a reason to go down.”

The shutdown, he added, was “supposed to be, ah, you know, kinda one of those things.”

In an effort to cooperate, Rich responded: “OK, so we’re just comin’ down for some maintenance, like a forced outage type thing?”

“I think that’s a good plan, Rich,” Bill said.”….I knew I could count on you.”

The 52-megawatt plant was out of operation for several hours the next day, when rolling blackouts plagued Northern and Central California and about half a million homes and businesses lost power. At that same time, U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson had ordered suppliers to make power available in the West.

I hope there’s no one left who still thinks California’s problems were caused by too little power plant construction, or overly restrictive environmental regulations, or a badly constructed power grid, or mismanagement by Gray Davis. This tape is just one more piece of evidence that what really happened was fraud. Enron and other energy traders took a routine, temporary problem that could have been solved fairly easily, and made it into a crisis by deliberately removing power from the grid at times calculated to cause the greatest possible panic.

And it worked. Read the whole story for even more gruesome details.