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California grid operator admits causing swings

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LOS ANGELES — The operator of the state's power grid has acknowledged that it was responsible for swings in production at a power plant that Gov. Gray Davis said were evidence of price gouging by out-of-state energy companies, two newspapers reported Sunday.

The California Independent System Operator told its oversight board that records showed Duke Energy was following its orders to adjust output in order to help balance the grid and not to drive up prices, the Los Angeles Times and The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported.

Three former workers at a Duke Energy power plant near San Diego told state investigators on June 22 that production units were shut down in what they called a scheme to drive up electricity prices.