Analyzing Keywords in Enron’s Email

You probably can’t read all the 252K email messages in the Enron email dataset by yourself.

But with SQL it’s easy to search for keywords, like “Special Purpose Entity”, “Bankrupt”, “Fraud”, “Shutdown”,  “Talking Points”, “FERC” and so on. They begin to reveal what really went on inside the minds at Enron.


Many Enron employees took MBA courses at UC Berkeley HAAS Business School.

Since the Enron bankruptcy, classes at UC Berkeley School Of Information began to analyze Enron’s emails, as early as 2004. Like this one:

In this document, they search for “Talking Points“: an especially persuasive point helping to support an argument or discussion.

A simple Group By shows that Jeff Dasovich, Government Relations Executive, mentioned “Talking Points” the most.

| sender                    | recipient                   | count(*) |
|      |        |       11 |
|   |           |       11 |
|      |      |       11 |
|   |    |       11 |
|      |       |       11 |
|      |        |       12 |
|   |   |       13 |
|      |     |       13 |
|   |       |       13 |
|   |         |       13 |
|      |        |       14 |
| |     |       16 |
|   |       |       19 |
| |       |       21 |
|      |   |       22 |
|   |   |       24 |
|   |             |       24 |
|   |        |       25 |
|   |      |       27 |
|      |   |       28 |
|   |     |       34 |
|   |   |       36 |

237 rows in set (8.81 sec)

Most frequently, he mentioned it to Richard Shapiro, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs.


“Mike Day is fleshing out the legal details”

| | | 2000-12-26 13:44:00 | Looks good w/ comments from Harry and Sue. Thanks!From: Jeff Dasovich on 12/26/2000 03:15 PMSent by: Jeff DasovichTo: Jeff Dasovich/NA/Enron@Enron, Alan Comnes/PDX/ECT@ECT, Dennis Benevides/HOU/EES@EES, Eric Letke/DUB/EES@EES, George McClellan/HOU/ECT@ECT, Harry Kingerski/NA/Enron@ENRON, James D Steffes/NA/Enron@ENRON, Jennifer Rudolph/HOU/EES@EES, Joe Hartsoe/Corp/Enron@ENRON, Kevin McGowan/Corp/Enron@ENRON, Lisa Yoho/NA/Enron@ENRON, Lysa Akin/PDX/ECT@ECT, Mary Hain/HOU/ECT@ECT, Paul Kaufman/PDX/ECT@ECT, Richard Shapiro/NA/Enron@ENRON, Roger Yang/SFO/EES@EES, Sandra McCubbin/NA/Enron@ENRON, Sarah Novosel/Corp/Enron@ENRON, Scott Stoness/HOU/EES@EES,, Stuart Staley/LON/ECT@ECT, Susan J Mara/NA/Enron@ENRON, Vicki Sharp/HOU/EES@EES, Wanda Curry/HOU/EES@EES,, Robert C Williams/ENRON_DEVELOPMENT@ENRON_DEVELOPMENT, Mike D Smith/HOU/EES@EEScc:  Subject: DRAFT talking points for California PUC Hearings on the 27th/28th      Attached is a draft of the talking points for the Commission s hearings.  Few points:Our time is likely to be limited to 5-10 minutes.Mike Day, our outside counsel, will make the presentation on our behalf.Mike Day is fleshing out the legal details of our presentation and he will forward that along for folks review later today.Comments can be forwarded to me via email, pager (888.916.7184), voicemail (415.782.7822), or home (415.621.8317).We will finalize the message points on tomorrow s daily call (10 AM CST).  The call in number is 800.713.8600.  Code is 80435.The Commission s hearings begin tomorrow at 10 AM (PST). |


“Talking Points” was used so frequently, it had the acronym:  TP.

| |   | 2001-04-04 06:07:00 | I think these are quite good…the missing piece, I would argue, that we need to include is a talking point on the need for FERC to focus significant resources on the identification and elimination of market power in electricity markets and the need to encourage the development of distributed generation and more effective demand – side response mechanisms , partly in response to market power concerns. This is a huge issue in  getting wholesale electricity markets to work effectively, i.e; to create discernable  consumer welfare benefits…. and we ( Enron ) need to talk about this this issue and concern and talk about it frequently and w/ the same passion we talk about the need for open markets.Linda Robertson04/04/2001 12:09 PMTo: Steven J Kean/NA/Enron@Enroncc: Richard Shapiro/NA/Enron@Enron, Joe Hartsoe/Corp/Enron@ENRON, Tom Briggs/NA/Enron@Enron Subject: Lay/Skilling Talking Points for Bush Admin Meetings and CallsSteve, per our conversation yesterday in Houston, what do you think of these TPs?  To be used by both Ken and Jeff in conversations and meetings with the Bush Administration. – Skilling Talking Points.doc |

How would you summarize this email? Lots of ideology, but no mention of any numbers to support their case.



In the email set, there are lots of occurrences of the phrase: Bankrupt. Many of the emails are actually forwarded news articles. Setting the length of the message to less than 10000 characters worked well to eliminate many of them.

A simple Group By and Count of the messages, To and From “”, and containing the phrase “bankrupt” showed the phrase was used the most in December 2001, after the bad news began to come out.

| year | month | count(*) |
| 1999 |    10 |        1 |
| 2000 |     2 |       12 |
| 2000 |     3 |        1 |
| 2000 |     4 |        3 |
| 2000 |     5 |        2 |
| 2000 |     6 |        6 |
| 2000 |     7 |        1 |
| 2000 |     9 |        2 |
| 2000 |    11 |        2 |
| 2000 |    12 |       38 |
| 2001 |     1 |       45 |
| 2001 |     2 |       40 |
| 2001 |     3 |       44 |
| 2001 |     4 |       81 |
| 2001 |     5 |       13 |
| 2001 |     6 |       10 |
| 2001 |     7 |       94 |
| 2001 |     8 |       43 |
| 2001 |     9 |       81 |
| 2001 |    10 |       51 |
| 2001 |    11 |       37 |
| 2001 |    12 |      161 |
| 2002 |     1 |       97 |
| 2002 |     2 |       10 |
| 2002 |     3 |       58 |
| 2002 |     4 |        1 |
| 2002 |     5 |        9 |

27 rows in set (9.76 sec)


“a bankruptcy process where Enron seeks to gain control of the underlying asset”

| 2000-03-02 06:48:00 |                  | Team,We need to push forward on the next phase of the pricing model.  I sense that we have lost some momentum so we need to pick it back up.Enron needs to shed some of the risk of this deal in order to be able to do more of them.  I think the insurance market is a great platform to accomplish this.  I think our success potential is high as long as Enron is in a first loss position and pro-rata loss for the balance.  However, I am not confident that the insurance industry will be able to work up a meaningful offer.  My solution is to calculate a bid for their services.The loss I am trying to protect is associated with a bankruptcy process where Enron seeks to gain control of the underlying asset and/or its liquidation.  I propose that the trigger for an insurance pay-out would be the sale of the underlying project to a third party in a liquidation scenario for the benefit of creditors (i.e. EPMI).I would like to price a structure where EPMI takes the first $50/kw of Loss and 10% of the balance.  Loss will be defined as Par amount of debt outstanding plus Net Amounts owed EPMI less sale proceeds from plant.  Net Amounts owed EPMI will include the net amount of MTM and accrued index payments owed EPMI under both the Financial Buy and Financial Sell contracts as of the date of sale.  For purposes of this analysis lets assume initially that Net Amounts are $0.One way to price this product would be as a put option of 90% (100% – 10%) of the MW of the plant at a price equal to par amount of debt less $50/kw.  I am open to other ideas.I expect results to be presented in the form of reduction of the put premium ( equity s option to put plant to EPMI) that we have been calculating to date.It is also essential that we update the pricing models to reflect different start and end dates and different strike price calls for each year.regards,Don3-4750 |



A similar Group By shows the phrase Fraud used most in the month of November 2001.

| year | month | count(*) |
| 2000 |     5 |        2 |
| 2000 |     6 |        1 |
| 2000 |     7 |        1 |
| 2000 |     8 |        1 |
| 2000 |     9 |        3 |
| 2000 |    10 |        6 |
| 2000 |    11 |       19 |
| 2000 |    12 |        1 |
| 2001 |     1 |        5 |
| 2001 |     2 |        2 |
| 2001 |     3 |       14 |
| 2001 |     4 |        5 |
| 2001 |     5 |       15 |
| 2001 |     6 |        6 |
| 2001 |     7 |        1 |
| 2001 |     8 |       10 |
| 2001 |     9 |       22 |
| 2001 |    10 |       21 |
| 2001 |    11 |      100 |
| 2001 |    12 |        8 |
| 2002 |     1 |        2 |
| 2002 |     2 |        2 |
| 2002 |     4 |        1 |

23 rows in set (14.35 sec)


“unfair advantage of their monopoly power”

| 2000-11-21 02:36:00 |                                        | That is by far the best line of the day!!  Unconscionability may be the thing I m remembering, but I think there is some more specific law related to market dislocations–i.e., the Hurricane example.  Its sort of a twist on market power law–i.e., if the fates hand you short term market power, you better not use it.  DF    Susan Scott11/21/2000 10:08 AM To: Drew Fossum/ET&S/Enron@ENRONcc: Kathy Ringblom/ET&S/Enron@ENRON Subject: Re: gouging  I know there is some case law out there on contracts being voided because they are “unconscionable.”  There are several examples in consumer law and employment law, in which one contracting party is a corporation and the other is a West Palm Beach voter.  However, if my memory serves me correctly, none of them involve contracts between 2 sophisticated business entities such as TW and Sempra or PG&E.  Absent evidence of fraud, courts uphold bargains struck at arms length.  Kathy, I d be happy to take the oars on this but if you ve already done some looking, please let me know if you ve found anything.               From:  Drew Fossum                           11/20/2000 04:44 PM    To: Susan Scott/ET&S/Enron@ENRON, Kathy Ringblom/ET&S/Enron@ENRONcc:  Subject: gougingStuck on the phone so I thought I d email you.  Stan has asked Mike Moran if TW has any potential exposure on the high value transport deals under “anti gouging” statutes or common law.  You know, the laws that say you can t charge $100 per sheet of plywood during a hurricane or $50 for a bucket of water during a drought.  I think we need to research two things:1.  are there any such laws applicable to our business?  (Cal. state law would probably be the best place to start)2.  could the political/regulatory fight in Cal about power and gas prices ever expand all the way to our transport pricing?  I.e., if the CPUC whacks the power sellers for taking unfair advantage of their monopoly power, its not a big leap for the CPUC or FERC or even U.S. congress to whack gas sellers for jacking prices up to $14/MMBtu, as happened on Friday.  If that happens, its just another small jump to whack us for charging $1 for transport, or so the logic goes.  I d like to hear preliminary views by 8:30 Monday am so I can talk to Mike before Stan s staff meeting (no written memo necessary).  Based on that prelim. research, we can decide what else need s to be done.  Thanks df |


$700K Restricted Stock And Options Become Worthless:

| 2001-11-14 06:10:58 |                                        | John,Let me begin by recognizing that you are now entrusted to resolve issues that were not of your own creation.  I also appreciate the tremendous amount of stress that you have been under especially considering the birth of your second child.  I do not envy you now, yet I am sincerely grateful that it is you and Greg leading us through these times.The message that you have sent throughout my six years with Enron has been “trust the system until it fails you”.  We would all be disappointed if our troubled times were a result of a few (rather large) ill-conceived investments, but the violation of trust comes from the deliberate misrepresentation of facts.  Namely the restatement of earnings and balance sheet items back to 1997.  We have all based our decisions to continue employment with Enron upon publicly available information.  Has fraudulence been proven in a court of law?  No.  However, the court of public opinion has already had it its trial, the perpetrators have been convicted and the victims now await retribution.  In this matter, the corporation is responsible to the court of public opinions jurisdiction.  I write you now to offer my version of justice.From 1997 to date I have received restricted stock and options with a notional value of approximately $700,000 (by memory).  At the end of each compensation period, I based my decision to continue my employment with Enron on all publicly available information.  This corporation has deliberately and knowingly misrepresented these facts.  Today, I call on Enron to repurchase my entire equity portfolio and replace it with a one time lump sum payment equal to the exact notional value.My situation is certainly unique.  I can save you the effort and inform you that my net career to date contribution is $zero.  To this I have three responses: (1)  At no time did I falter from the highest ethical standard, whereas Enron has; (2) I am calling for Enron to address its misrepresentations made prior to my 2001 misfortune.  It would be an injustice for Enron to use my 2001 performance to justify its prior unethical compensation program; and (3) I am fully prepared to accept zero performance bonus for this year. Enron may not be able to offer this solution to all of its employees.  You may need to make decisions on who to keep.  Perhaps Enron should offer to release those less desired individuals from any contractual obligations.John, I recognize that these issues cannot be resolved over night.  I will be as patient as I can be.Sincerely,Keith |        1 |



| sender                  | recipient                 | count(*) |
| |     |       16 |
| |     |       16 |
| |        |       17 |
| |       |       17 |
| |      |       17 |
| | |       17 |
| | |       18 |
| |    |       20 |
| | |       20 |
| | |       22 |
| |   |       22 |
| |     |       23 |
| |     |       24 |
| |     |       24 |
| |      |       25 |
| |     |       26 |
| |    |       30 |
| |      |       31 |
| | |       41 |

563 rows in set (9.88 sec)

Jeff Dasovich, Government Relations Executive, and Richard Shapiro, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs talk the most about Litigation. Of the 582 sender/recipient combinations, Jeff Dasovich is the sender in 147 cases, and dominates the volume and frequency of emails.


“FERC buy-in will be litigation-central”

| | | 2001-03-08 02:40:00
… This California First! rule means the generation must be scheduled against CA loads or bid into day-ahead market.  If you don t bid your bid cap is applied.  There will be a capacity element similar to RMR.  This change will require FERC buy-in, which obviously will be litigation-central, and its likely to create a cascade of similar requirements from other states …Thanks Andy for the quick summary!


“a very long, protracted litigation struggle”:

| | | 2001-10-31 09:13:50
In addition, it would be useful to let Edison know that they are in for a very long, protracted litigation struggle if, once they ve paid us, they attempt to take it back through ratemaking shenanigans at the PUC.  In yesterday s conversation with Fielder, I told him that Edison is ensuring World War 3 and that they d better prepare for it if they intend to pursue this unreasonable approach. However, I tried to keep things as cordial as possible in an effort not to close down communications altogether.Other ESPs and DA customers are likely to oppose Edison s proposal.  Sue s informing the ARM coalition of what Edison s up to. |

In addition to abusing their employees, Enron though nothing of litigating with their business partners.


29 Special Purpose Entities!

Enron had used hundreds of special purpose entities to hide its debt. Here are 29 of them, listed in a single email.

| 2001-11-01 08:02:36 |      | X-FileName: geir solberg 6-26-02.PST Enron s General Counsel sent out an e-mail this morning defining data and document retention policies relating to SEC Investigations and Shareholder Class Action lawsuits.  The e-mail, which appears below, goes on to explain that we should otherwise return to “our normal electronic document retention policy.”I want to remind everybody that the new document retention requirements are in addition to this office s current document retention policy.  Specifically, the policies that we have agreed to with the California Attorney General remain in effect.  As a reminder, I have included our policy below.  Each person in the Portland office needs to be aware of and continue to comply with our data retention policies. If you have any questions or concerns please let me know.The purpose of this message is to update employees on thestatus of the California Attorney General s order regarding the preservation of business information.  Please NOTE THE IMPORTANT POLICIES DESCRIBED BELOW.Please continue to ahdere to the following business information retention policies:(1) PERSONAL EMAIL: can be kept, discarded,etc. at will.(2) BUSINESS EMAIL: do not delete any business email sent or received for 24 hours.  This 24 hour delay will allow the network to save a backup copy of the email.  After 24 hours, BUSINESSEMAIL may be kept, discarded, etc. at will.(3) WORD PROCESSING FILES OR FILE FRAGMENTS:do not delete any SAVED FILE or any FILE FRAGMENT.  This policy covers any FILE or FILE FRAGMENT that you have saved on your hard disk or the network.(4) DATABASES: do not delete any information in DATABASES.(5) EXCEL SPREADSHEETS: do not delete anyinformation in EXCEL SPREADSHEETS.(6) CALENDARS OR SCHEDULING PROGRAMS: do notdelete any information.(7) OTHER ELECTRONIC DATA: do not delete anyOTHER ELECTRONIC DATA.(8) HARD DRIVE CAPACITY: in the event thatyou run out of disk space on your personal computer, you may copy files tothe network (where they will be backed up), then delete the files from yourpersonal computer to create the work space you need.  DO NOT DELETE ANY FILE EFORE YOU HAVE COPIED IT TO THE NETWORK. —–Original Message—–From:     Enron Announcements/Corp/Enron@ENRON   On Behalf Of Jim Derrick.@ENRONSent:    Wednesday, October 31, 2001 5:36 PMTo:    All Enron Worldwide@ENRONSubject:    Important Announcement Regarding Document Preservation        I want to thank you for your cooperation in responding to my previous notice regarding the suspension of our document retention policy.        Through the excellent work of our  IT group, we have now secured our electronic media as needed for litigation purposes.  Accordingly, except as noted below, we will now return to our normal electronic document retention policy.        In order that we may capture all possible electronic information related to the litigation, please do the following:        1.      If you have any voice mails that relate in any way to the LJM Deal or Chewco Investments L.P., including any accounting issues related to these transactions, please forward the voice mails to  x3-6800.        2.      If you have any voice mails that relate in any way to Enron s public statements regarding EBS, Azurix, New Power Co., or any voice mail regarding financial transactions involving these matters, including accounting issues related to these matters, please forward the voice mails to  x3-6801.        3.      If you have any e-mails that relate in any way to the LJM Deal or Chewco Investments L.P., including any accounting issues related to these transactions, please forward the e-mails to        4.      If you have any e-mails that relate in any way to Enron s public statements regarding EBS, Azurix, New Power Co., or any  e-mail regarding financial transactions involving these matters, including accounting issues related to these matters, please forward the e-mails to

“LJM Deal” includes LJM Cayman L.P., LJM Co-Investment L.P., TNPC1, Margaux1, Cortez (TNPC), Osprey1, Avici, Catalytica, Fishtail (Pulp & Paper), Backbone, ENA CLO (Merlin), Nowa Sarzyna (Poland), Bob West, MEGS, Yosemite, EECC Turbines (Blue Dog), Raptor 1, Raptor 1a, Raptor 2, Raptor 2a, Raptor 3, Raptor 4, Rawhide, LJM2/WW Loan Agrmt, Osprey 2 LLC1, Rythms, Osprey, Cuiaba,  and LJM Cayco Investments.

Also, please forward all future e-mails and voice mails that relate to the above-referenced subjects to the appropriate e-mail address or voice mail box.  These procedures will ensure that our electronic documents and voice mails are properly preserved.        Over the next month, our lawyers will be collecting our traditional files, i.e., written documents, for possible production in litigation.  In the meantime, please retain all of your hard-copy files that in any way relate to:        1.      The LJM Deal         2.      Azurix         3.      New Power Co.         4.      EBS         5.      Chewco Investments L.P.        6.      Accounting for any Enron investments         7.      Any Enron public statement made to the investment public         8.      Any Enron public filing with the SEC or other regulatory bodies         Please err on the side of retention of documents.         If you have any questions, please call Andrew Edison at x5-7105. |        4 |


Special Purpose Entity Names Used Interchangeably:

“We use condor/whitewing/velocity/trutta names interchangeably”

| | 2001-02-20 08:05:00 | this is going out to a broad group and may not be relevant to some, but please be aware that other ENA assets may go into the velocity/condor structure at a couple points this year. also we can all pray (i think it is ok to use this word in the current political climate and in a secular sense, as i think our interests are aligned on this) that the ENE stock price goes up and for more room in the raptor vehicle so we may see more raptor hedges.1.. as most of you are aware, the majority of ENA s merchant assets are in our project velocity structure. just to make sure that we confuse everyone, we use condor/whitewing/velocity/trutta names interchangeably although occasionally there are some distinctions (which i won t bore you with the details about so you can disavow all knowledge if you have/need/want to). just so you get the right lingo, trutta is the name of the ENA subsidiary where these assets now have a home. ENA, under a servicing agreement, is the servicer of the assets. i am attaching for your information the servicing guidelines in the agreement. the major restriction is that ENA cannot  sell assets for less than the contributed value into the structure. any EARLY warning of a potential sale of any of these assets would be greatly appreciated so we can check whether any restrictions apply and be ready, as there are some logistics involved. an email to donna lowry, mary heinitz and myself would be wonderful. if you do not do this, you may get on donna s list. of course i can t speak for her as to the repercussions envisioned, but let me suffice it to say that i am glad i am not on her list. at least that i know of.  2. a number of these assets also have raptor hedges in place in addition to being in the velocity structure. only the portion of the investment that was on ENA s balance sheet was hedged. if an asset is sold that has been “raptorized”, the swap will need to be promptly terminated/notional amounts adjusted etc. again, give us as much notice as you can.3. we also need notice (AHEAD OF TIME) of any follow on investments in the same merchant assets, exchanges of our interest or further fundings because STUFF will have to be done. i will not bore you with the details, but this STUFF cannot be done in ONE MINUTE contrary to the popular opinion of some business types whose names i will not mention here. we also are obligated to provide quarterly reports of the investments which describe any modifications to the investments during that calendar quarter. the first report is due april 11, 2001 for the first quarter of this year. we will be asking for your input with respect to your investments at the end of march. 4. lists of assets currently in velocity and in raptor are attached fyi.     Lisa J. MellencampEnron North America Corp. – Legal1400 Smith St.Houston, TX  77002Tel:  (713) 853-7986Fax: (713) 646-3393E-mail: |       37 |



One of the tactics Enron did was to suddenly shutdown entire power plants for maintenance. There were even rolling blackouts in California. This restricted the supply and seriously boosted the price of power, and the traders at Enron made huge profits.

In this single email, you can see the planning of multiple shutdowns to begin in one week. Wow!

| |    | 2000-04-04 03:56:00 |
OUTAGE REPORT FOR GATHERING                 Received 4/3/2000 2:35 p.m.                                            Posted 4/3/2000 2:35 p.m.
STATE:  PAFACILITY:  Cherry Tree StationPLANNED WORK:  Overhaul Unit #2OUTAGE DATE:  April 10-20FLOW REDUCTION:  2.4 MMCFDCONTACT:  Kevin MiknisSTATION PHONE:  724-468-3731
STATE:  PAFACILITY:  Stoney Run StationPLANNED WORK:  Overhaul Unit #3OUTAGE DATE:  April 24 – May 5FLOW REDUCTION:  2.0 MMCFDCONTACT: Kevin Miknis STATION PHONE:  724-468-3731
STATE:  WVFACILITY:  Jones StationPLANNED WORK: Overhaul Unit #1OUTAGE DATE:  April 17-20FLOW REDUCTION:  1.0 MMCFDCONTACT:  Larry WadeSTATION PHONE:  304-477-3366
FACILITY: TL-263PLANNED WORK: Replacement tie-insOUTAGE DATE:  April 15FLOW REDUCTION:  34.0 MMCFD CONTACT:  Steve SearlsSTATION PHONE:  304-595-1270

Notice to all Appalachian Pool Operators:           Received 3/29/00  2:00 pmReclassification Notice                            Posted 3/29/00  2:00 pm

On February 10, 1999, the FERC approved Docket No. CP97-549, granting CNG Transmission s (CNGT s) request for reclassification of various transmission lines to gathering lines.  ….

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: