Enron makes an exit; FERC cost-based rates return.
Out of the fog of Enron's demise, a historian might note that the company's greatest legacy was its championing of competitive energy markets.
No other company in recent memory argued as forcibly, lobbied as hard, or spent as much money to convince America that it had a choice.
Certainly, like most companies, Enron's agenda was to make money. But in the early days of Order 888 and 889, its voice was clearly distinct from the chorus of utility industry dissent towards electric restructuring.
Enron was a useful barometer from which to judge against industry opinion on the support for competition.
Now, Enron is simply no more. Even though its demise has been clearly documented, one may never really understand how those pesky off-balance sheet transactions truly worked.
The company liked to revel in the level of complexity of its transactions-which, ultimately, was its undoing. Perhaps it's a tribute that even the jokes being sent around show similar intellectual rigor. Interested in how Enron conducted its accounting? Below is an anonymous e-mail that was sent to trading floors describing humorously how Enron might have accounted for a portfolio of cows:
Enron Accounting: Texas Style
You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank.