February 5, 2015 / 6:47 PM / 6 years ago

Factbox: U.S. court dismisses GDF power market manipulation complaint

(Reuters) - A U.S. federal judge has dismissed an amended complaint by two commodity trading firms alleging that French energy company GDF Suez SA manipulated power markets in Texas.

Officials at GDF were not immediately available for comment on whether the order, entered Feb. 4, ended the lawsuit.

2012-2014 - Two commodity trading firms, Aspire Commodities LP and Raiden Commodities LP, alleged in a federal lawsuit that units of GDF Suez intentionally withheld electricity from some of its power plants in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) power grid during times of tight supply to drive prices higher.

GDF owns just under 5 percent of the generation in ERCOT.

Aspire and Raiden alleged that after causing prices to spike higher, in some cases up to the grid’s $5,000 per megawatt hour cap, GDF then sold power at the artificially higher price it created to make excessive profits.

Aspire and Raiden alleged GDF was able to give up some profits on selling physical power in ERCOT because GDF can make more money on long positions it may hold in power futures on exchanges like the IntercontinentalExchange.

GDF denied the allegations in its answer to the lawsuit.

Apr 2014 - Aspire and Raiden filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas Houston Division against GDF seeking damages for alleged power market manipulation in ERCOT. Aspire estimated it lost about $20 million due to GDF’s alleged manipulation, while Raiden said it lost “significant amounts”.

Jun 2014 - GDF filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

U.S. Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was looking into GDF’s trading activities in ERCOT, according to media reports. Officials at GDF and the CFTC have never confirmed those reports.

Jul 2014 - Aspire and Raiden filed an amended complaint against GDF on July 14, 2014.

Aug 2014 - GDF filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint.

Feb 2015 - The court granted GDF’s motion to dismiss the amended complaint.

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