In May 2001, just days before Cheney unveiled his long-awaited National Energy Policy, FERC entered into confidential settlements with Williams in which the company forfeited $8 million it was owed by California's grid operator for power Williams sold into the marketplace at inflated prices. Williams did not admit any guilt for the power plant shutdown and, on orders from Cheney, FERC agreed to keep details of the settlement sealed. FERC later entered into a similar settlement with Reliant. The company agreed to forfeit $13.8 million it was owed by California's grid operator, did not admit to any wrongdoing, and FERC kept the details of the settlement confidential.
Moreover, FERC kept California officials in the dark about the nature of the state's claims that its wholesale electricity market was being manipulated. Hebert is now the vice president of external affairs for Entergy in New Orleans.
For former Governor Gray Davis, the illegal behavior by energy companies like Williams that federal energy regulators discovered, then covered up, during a time when the former governor had said publicly he believed such behavior had taken place, is beyond disturbing.
Instead of protecting the interests of consumers, FERC's primary job, Hebert toed the White House line and together with Cheney, Hebert had come out publicly to say that Davis should immediately order the California Public Utilities Commission to relax environmental restrictions on the permitting process related to power plant construction and raise electricity rates to keep utilities Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison from becoming insolvent. The insolvency issue was due to the fact that the utilities were paying higher prices for power than it was legally allowed to charge its customers under the state's deregulation law.
Who'da EVER suspected the vice-criminal would be implicated in such things?