How ‘Death Star’ and AIG sparked a new era in regulation

Ferc and the CFTC have overlearned the lessons of past crises

Alexander Osipovich
Alexander Osipovich

It is often said that regulators are always fighting the last crisis. In the case of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Ferc), that crisis is now 15 years old. It was in January 2001 that the California energy crisis entered its most acute phase, with rolling blackouts affecting hundreds of thousands of people across the state.

The reasons for the crisis are complex, but a crucial contributing factor was market manipulation by traders at Houston-based energy trading firm Enron, who ear