JPMorgan reduces presence in California power market

Fri May 10, 2013 3:37pm EDT

May 10 (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co has sold the rights to market electricity from three power plants in Southern California to a regional power company, reducing the bank's presence in the state as it comes under regulatory scrutiny.

Federal energy regulators may take enforcement action against JPMorgan over allegations that it manipulated power prices in California and Michigan, which the bank denies and vows to fight.

A spokeswoman at JPMorgan said the company declined to comment on the sale.

California utility regulators on Thursday approved the plan to transfer the management of the three power plants, which can produce enough power for about three million homes, to Southern California Edison (SCE) from October 1, 2013 to May 31, 2018.

SCE is a unit of Edison International serving about 4.9 million customers in Southern and Central California.

The natural gas-fired plants are owned and operated by units of U.S. power company AES Corp and managed by JPMorgan under so-called tolling agreements.

Tolling agreements usually allow companies like JPMorgan to purchase gas and sell the power produced from the facilities.

The sale included the management 3,690 megawatts (MW) at Units 1-6 at the Alamitos plant (1,950 MW), Units 1 and 2 at Huntington Beach (430 MW) and Units 5-8 at Redondo Beach (1,310 MW).

The California Public Utilities Commission and SCE did not disclose the cost of the contract.

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