Power Network Predators

While everyone was studying properties and behaviors of complex networks, predators like Enron were preying on the weaknesses of the power grid network.  I still remember the damn PG&E bills.

"As chief of Enron's Western energy trading wing, Timothy N. Belden is the guy who turned out the lights in Silicon Valley during summer 2001's bogus energy crisis. He described his depredations as "experiments," and in some profound sense that was true: They were so far ahead of the curve that a lot of them probably weren't even illegal. Nonetheless, he recently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, coughing up $2.1 million and promising to sing in federal court. His cadre of 100 or so energy traders, crammed onto a tight little floor together under his supervision, was just like Johnson's Skunk Works – an elite division of wonks who were quick, quiet, and right on time.

They were so quick they made a business of selling lightning. Electric power doesn't sit still long enough to be stored.

They were so quiet that, despite endless press coverage, nobody realized Enron was gaming California's power system. No one imagined that a Texas-sponsored cabal of traders hidden in deepest Oregon could accomplish such marvels. But every time Belden's crew pushed the F1 key, California magically "congested" and "decongested," and Enron made money – more than $800 million amid the crisis of 2001." [Wired 11.03]