Federal regulators investigating Exelon's Constellation commodities group say they have "preliminarily determined" that the division violated market-behavior rules.
The brief notice, filed Friday by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said only that the alleged violations involve not providing accurate information to a power grid operator, the California Independent System Operator.
FERC declined to comment. Constellation, the Baltimore energy company bought by Chicago-based Exelon last year, downplayed the investigation.
"The transactions at issue occurred during two months in 2010 and there is no allegation of any manipulative conduct," said Lawrence McDonnell, a Constellation spokesman, in a prepared statement. "We are working with the commission staff to achieve a reasonable resolution of this matter, which we hope will occur quickly."
Constellation agreed to a $245 million settlement with FERC last year to resolve allegations of energy market manipulation. Almost half the money was a giveback of "unjust profits," and the rest — $135 million — was a fine, a record amount at the time.
FERC said that case of alleged manipulation, involving energy trades in 2007 and 2008, "resulted in widespread economic losses to market participants who bought and sold energy" in the wholesale markets of New York and New England.
Mayo A. Shattuck III, then CEO of Constellation, said in an email to employees that company officials believed there had been no violations — only hedging activity "subject to misinterpretation." He said Constellation settled that case because it had no real-time record showing the objective of the trades, and because it allowed the acquisition by Exelon to proceed.
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