Robert McCullough is frequently sought out by media outlets as an expert source. Here are some media appearances and articles mentioning McCullough Research.

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024


March 15, 2024
Look More Closely Before You Leap
Letter to Clearing Up – NewsData – Robert McCullough
SPP has a reputation for illiquidity, fanciful and volatile prices, and slow settlements. In seeking suppliers for a consumer-owned utility, I was surprised that only two of thirty possible suppliers showed interest. The most common response from the traders was that their risk managers did not allow trades in SPP.

March 11, 2024
Portland State University Alumni Association – KJ Fields
When issues in the energy market need transparency, Robert McCullough (’76) gets the call. An economist and prominent figure in the energy arena, McCullough has built an illustrious career combing through scores of data to unravel scandals, solve mysteries and deliver laser-sharp analyses.

February 5, 2024
Summer Has Long Stressed Electric Grids. Now Winter Does, Too.
The New York Times – Ivan Penn
U.S. grids are also struggling because they are importing less power during the winter from Canada. Demand for electricity in that country is growing strongly, and a decline in rain and snow has reduced supply from its hydroelectric power plants, said Robert McCullough of McCullough Research, an energy consulting firm based in Portland, Ore.

January 22, 2024
New London State Pier could be threatened by new wind power projects in Providence and Salem, Mass.
CT Insider – Luther Turmelle
The two out-of state projects are potential threats to the amount of staging area activity at the State Pier in New London, according to Robert McCullough, managing partner of Oregon-based McCullough Research. The project in Salem, Mass. involves the impending acquisition of a 37-acre waterfront property in that city by a Massachusetts quasi-public agency, while the plans in Rhode Island are for a $70 million shipping and staging area for offshore wind turbines near the mouth of the Providence River in that city’s port area.

“A lot of the attraction assumes that the wind projects will add employment locally,” McCullough said. “As with all massive projects, this is a case of devil in the details. The effect is likely to be smaller than expected.”

January 11, 2024
CT-based Eversource to write off up to $1.6B as it sells stake in three offshore wind farm projects
CT Insider – Luther Turmelle
“The enthusiasm for offshore tends to reflect politics and lobbying rather than economics, especially given the U.S. with a vast untapped onshore wind potential,” McCullough said. “The cost differential is approximately two to three times per megawatt hour. These are concerns Eversource had to address and probably a part of their decision to exit.”


December 19, 2023
Oil Drillers Mislead With Advertising Claims That Decreased CA Crude Oil Production Policies Lead To High Gas Prices, says Consumer Watchdog
PR Newswire – Consumer Watchdog
“Limiting oil drilling in California has about as much impact on California gasoline prices as it does the price of tea in China,” said economist Robert McCullough of McCullough Research. “Crude oil prices are set on a world market that the level of California crude oil production does not impact.”

September 26, 2023
In Summer Heat, ‘Artificial Shortages’ in Texas Grid May Have Cost $8 Billion
The New York Times – J. David Goodman
The market is designed to create high prices at such moments, an incentive for power generators to turn on whatever they have.
“The philosophy in ERCOT was that the prices would get so high that everyone would rush to meet them,” said Robert McCullough, an energy consultant.

August 20, 2023
Quebec utility partnering on CMP corridor may revive nuclear plant
Bangor Daily News – Lori Valigra
[McCullough] was surprised to learn Hydro-Quebec was considering nuclear energy to fill the gap, because restarting any nuclear plant is very difficult. The plant in question, Gentilly-2, was decommissioned because of economic and other reasons in December 2012, and defueling was completed in September 2013. Restarting it could cost $3 billion or more, he said.

“The nuclear plant option smacks of desperation,” McCullough said.

August 19, 2023
Hawaiian Electric Was Warned of Its System’s Fragility Before Wildfire
NYTimes – Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis
“This is not a highly reinforced system,” Robert McCullough, of McCullough Research, an energy consulting firm in Portland, Ore., said about Hawaiian Electric’s system. “It has not been hardened.”

August 13, 2023
Work Resumes on Maine Hydropower Project Amid Cost Concerns – Daniel Hall
According to Robert McCullough of energy consultancy McCullough Research, the uncertainty surrounding the project’s restart could be due to a lack of financial commitment until there is a better understanding of the situation.

July 20, 2023
Proposed Pipeline Expansion Could Upend Three States’ Climate Plans
Desmog – Nick Cunningham
“For Tourmaline, increased access to California is a paramount goal,” Robert McCullough, principal of Portland-based McCullough Research, wrote in a report submitted to FERC in June. But there is “very limited expression of interest in California,” he stated, and no California utilities have so far signed agreements with GTN, which may be an indication that demand is expected to fall over the coming years in the state.

June 24, 2023
Wildfires bankrupted California’s largest utility. What will happen to Oregon’s PacifiCorp?
The Oregonian – Ted Sickinger
Robert McCullough, a Portland energy consultant, said he expects PacifiCorp and Berkshire Hathaway will maintain control of the company and continue providing electricity to some 600,000 Oregonians.

“It’s going to be very unlikely we’ll see a fiscal disaster here for Warren Buffett,” he said.“ They’ll use up some of its current value, but it will remain an operating utility. … These are very smart people. The thought of them stumbling into a bankruptcy is inconceivable.”

March 13, 2023
Opinion: Who profits from Southern California’s high gas bills? The problem is we don’t know
New York Times – Jamie Court
When the spot price is high, there is no incentive to report a trade. Robert McCullough, an economist who has studied energy markets for decades, testified before a state Senate committee recently that at the height of the spikes last fall, the spot price for gasoline didn’t change for two weeks. If that had happened with the Dow, he wondered, wouldn’t someone have noticed?

February 16, 2023
California lawmakers consider Newsom’s oil profit penalty plan
Courthouse News Service – Natalie Hanson
Robert McCullough of McCullough Research said the spot market price has no direct relationship to production costs and is not transparent, and the state must do something after previous investigation efforts have failed.

February 16, 2023
Fact-check: Are energy costs highest in 15years?
Austin American-Statesman – Nusaiba Mizan
EIA data provided to PolitiFact show that average household heating costs are higher now than they were 15years ago, and these expenditures are higher than any other year during that time span.

January 4, 2023
Why Are Energy Prices So High? Some Experts Blame Deregulation.
The New York Times – Ivan Penn
“After the numbers are that far apart for this long you have to wonder if something isn’t working very well,” said Robert McCullough, an energy researcher and consultant who analyzed electricity rate data at the request of The New York Times. “If your car hasn’t been working for 20 years, maybe you should take it to the dealership.”


November 16, 2022
Site C’s Slippery Slope
The Tyee – Ben Parfitt
This is an ongoing concern for me — the lack of separation between the reviewer and the entity being reviewed,” McCullough says. The lines get even blurrier, he suggests, when a key player in the regulatory process has deep ties to both BC Hydro and the Site C project itself.

October 23, 2022
Cantwell Calls for More Transparent Petroleum Markets to Protect Consumers from Unexplained Pump Price Spikes
Gorge Country Media – GNCadm1n
“The best way to assure efficient markets is transparency and market surveillance. Until similar procedures are in place for gasoline and oil as have been in place for other energy markets, we will continue to see suspicious price spikes in western gasoline markets,” the McCullough report concludes.

October 21, 2022
West Coast letter to EIA re petroleum data collection
Letter from U.S. Senator – Maria Cantwell
High and volatile fuel prices are driving inflation, burdening our economies, and are having the effect of transferring millions of dollars from family budgets to surging oil company profits. West Coast consumers need to be confident that the markets are operating efficiently and fairly. To achieve this, I urge the EIA to utilize its existing data collection authority to collect additional detailed and timely data to ensure more transparent and accurately priced petroleum markets.”

July 15, 2022
Portland, after losing $11 million generating hydropower, forges new dam deal that could lose millions more
The Oregonian – Shane Dixon Kavanaugh 
McCullough, who reviewed the project’s financial tables as well as publicly available purchasing data by PGE, said that even with scheduled rate hikes and inflationary adjustments, the forecasts would remain out of reach unless the rains repeatedly soak through the record books.

“Suffice it to say, this makes damn little sense,” he said. “For these numbers to work, they’d need to have one hell of a water year — year after year.”

May 31, 2022
How a Florida Power Project Flew Under the Regulatory Radar
New York Times – Ivan Penn 
“We have 120 years of crazy regulatory practice in electricity and natural gas,” Mr. McCullough said. “There will be a day when someone will ask why they have just an extension cord there instead of the appropriate transmission line, because none of this makes good economics or engineering sense.”

May 23, 2022
California is beginning to bury its power lines to prevent wildfire
Mercury News – Lisa Krieger 
Compared to elsewhere, PG&E has been slow to embrace the solution, said Robert McCullough, a veteran energy consultant in Portland, Oregon, and adjunct professor of economics at Portland State University.

“California is the nation’s most regulated state, with a certain amount of inertia. It’s rigid and slow to respond,” he said. “But Pacific Gas & Electric is the posterchild child of rigidity… It should have been fixing everything all the time.”

May 9, 2022
Dems turn to the FTC to crack down on gas-price hikes
National Journal – Brian Dabbs 
We do not actually have market surveillance of gasoline or oil in the United States, except to the degree that the [Commodity Futures Trading Commission] might notice something happening in the forward market,” McCullough said in an interview.”

May 9, 2022
Washingtonians pay more for gas than most of the country. But why?
The Seattle Times – Hal Bernton and Manuel Villa 
But Robert McCullough, a Portland-based economist who testified at the April 5 Senate hearing, calls U.S. oil and gasoline markets “less transparent than almost any other commodities.”

April 13, 2022
Biden to announce summer sales of 15 percent ethanol fuel blend
Roll Call – Benjamin J. Hulac
 “Traditionally the states with biofuels have the lowest gasoline prices,” McCullough said. “And certainly, the idea of using our own resources well is very attractive.”

April 7, 2022
Opinion: Congress plays the blame game on gas prices
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution – Jamie Dupree
 “Why the gas price doesn’t follow the oil price down in Georgia is something we really do need to get to the bottom of,” energy research expert Robert McCullough testified, as he joined Warnock in urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.
“Some of the increase is due obviously to Putin’s war,” McCullough added. “But other increases are inexplicable at the moment.”

April 7, 2022
At Senate Commerce Hearing, Blumenthal Calls for More Federal Action to Lower Gas Prices & Stop Profiteering by Oil Giants – Richard Blumenthal
“Senator Blumenthal, I agree very deeply. Number one, tax incidents goes entirely to consumers. There’s a lot of academic research on that so 100 percent of your gas tax cut goes right to consumers. Number two, if we’re going to get the best benefit out of the Strategic Reserve, the best thing we could do is to replace the Strategic Reserves by purchasing forward. That gives direct financing to little guys because little guys don’t necessarily get to go to the Chase Manhattan Bank, they can sell their future production on the foreign curve in order to drill now. And number three, the fact of the matter is that we need to have a windfall tax that does not injure product. I put a formula in my testimony here, I’m not sure it’s the best, but there are ways to structure the windfall tax to give an incentive to start drilling now.”

April 7, 2022
Cantwell Calls for Investigation of Anomalies in West Coast Petroleum Markets at Hearing
Press Release on behalf of Senator Maria Cantwell
“After Enron’s fiasco, we enabled very good transparency rules for electricity and natural gas. Those have largely worked,” said McCullough. “There is however, one gaping hole, that gaping hole is spot oil, spot gasoline — those do not have a clear assignment.”

April 6, 2022
Feinstein Joins Cantwell, Wyden in Calling for Investigation of West Coast Gas Prices – Diane Feinstein
According to the April 5, 2022, testimony of Robert F. McCullough, Jr. before the Senate Commerce Committee, certain benchmark indices are used to price petroleum contracts across the West Coast market. These indices are based on transactions that are not on an exchange, not public, and not well understood.

April 6, 2022
Cantwell mulls Enron-like transparency mandates for petroleum
E&E News – Jeremy Dillon
“There is, however, one gaping hole,” said Robert McCullough, a principal with McCullough Research, who helped uncover the Enron scandal. “That gaping hole is spot oil, spot gasoline, those do not have a clear assignment.”

April 6, 2022
Big oil’s day on the Hill
Politico – Matthew Choi
“In a preview of arguments likely to resurface in today’s hearing, Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, told the Senate Commerce Committee on Tuesday that the administration’s signals toward the fossil fuel industry have had a chilling effect on investors who fear their money could go into projects that will get stopped by future regulations — particularly for smaller domestic drilling operations. And an industry source who has been in contact with some of the oil firms ahead of today’s hearing stressed that the companies will flatly reject that they are engaging in price gouging.”

April 5, 2022
Hill Democrats hunt for big oil
Politico – Matthew Choi
“The [oil] firms declined to attend today’s hearing, which will instead feature Kathleen Sgamma, president of Western Energy Alliance, and Robert McCollough, an energy expert who’s appeared regularly over the last couple of decades in Congress”

April 5, 2022
3 Smart Ways to Lower Gasoline Prices And Still Punish Putin
DC Report – David Cay Johnston
“The most effective policy to curb Russian aggression in Ukraine is to displace Putin’s oil exports with enhanced U.S. production while protecting U.S. consumers from unnecessary price increases at the pump,” McCullough said.

April 5, 2022
Big oil companies are using wartime profits to enrich investors, report says
The Washington Post – Maxine Joselow and Vanessa Montalbano
In the meantime, the committee today will hear from Robert McCullough of McCullough Research, an energy consulting firm. He was one of the first people to voice concerns about Enron, the Texas energy company that declared bankruptcy in 2001 after revelations of accounting fraud and inflated profits.

April 5, 2022
West Coast Gas Price Investigation – Letter to FTC Chair
U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science , and Transportation – Maria Cantwell, Dianne Feinstein, and Ron Wyden
“According to the April 5, 2022, testimony of Robert F. McCullough, Jr. before the Senate Commerce Committee, certain benchmark indices are used to price petroleum contracts across the West Coast market. These indices are based on transactions that are not on an exchange, not public, and not well understood. Unfortunately, as we personally learned during the West Coast electricity crisis, markets that function in secrecy more easily fall victim to manipulation and can lead to millions of dollars of overcharges for our constituents. ”

April 4, 2022
Committees prepare for gasoline price battles
E&E News – Jeremy Dillon
The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will also have a gasoline price hearing this week. Chair Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) is hoping to host energy executives in person at a later date.

March 24, 2022
DeFazio aims to stop gouging at the pump
Koin – Lisa Balick and Hailey Dunn
“Even though we produce more oil than anyone else, it takes us time to react, ”McCullough said. “And remember we were not drilling for oil over the last couple years because we didn’t need it. But the fact is we don’t see any good news on the horizon.”

February 14, 2022
Why do gas prices vary so much by Oregon county?
The Oregonian – Kristine de Leon and David Cansler
“In Oregon, we are very much the poor sister of the West Coast gasoline markets,” he said. “Both Washington and California have refineries, we do not. California has active regulation, and Washington has relatively active regulation, but we do not. So we have few choices, no refineries and no real consumer protection.”

February 14, 2022
Fossil Fictions
Public Citizen – Alan Zibel
Electricity market expert Robert McCullough, wrote that while the prospect of high profits should incentivize generators to prepare for cold weather, generators also have an incentive to take advantage of a crisis, providing an incentive for power generators to prolong emergency conditions to receive larger profits


November 19, 2021
West Sees New Age of Nuclear Development; Let’s Hope It Works
NewsData – Steve Ernst
McCullough said there hasn’t been much research published on the cost of electricity generated from small nuclear plants, but he says it will likely be somewhere around $60/MWh, compared to $30/MWh for utility-scale storage.

October 5, 2021
‘No place to go but up’: Entergy critics urge a new look at abandoned plan to sell trans-mission grid, break up vertical monopoly
The Lens – Michael Isaac Stein
“The people who are supposed to be keeping Entergy on their toes have pretty much gone out to coffee, and that’s a pretty serious problem,” utility consultant Robert McCullough told The Lens. “We do not see the motivation from each of the actors that’s necessarily sufficient to solve this.”

September 25, 2021
What regulators can do to improve utility systems
The Advocate – Mark Ballard
In the report that focused on Entergy, McCullough also noted that “many utilities wait until older equipment is destroyed rather than preemptively replacing equipment. There are understandable regulatory reasons for doing so: It is easier to recover the cost of storm damage than it is to argue for early retirement of existing assets.”

September 22, 2021
Entergy Resisted Upgrading New Orleans’ Power Grid. Residents Paid the Price
NPR – Max Blau, Annie Waldman, and Tegan Wendland
A report by analysts with energy consulting firm McCullough Research found that Entergy had “overstated” how long its transmission and distribution equipment can last because of the increased frequency of stronger hurricanes.

September 17, 2021
Why Louisiana’s Electric Grid Failed in Hurricane Ida
NY Times – Peter Eavis and Ivan Penn
While Entergy has been upgrading its transmission network to bear wind speeds in excess of 140 miles per hour, a lot of its transmission equipment in and around New Orleans was built to withstand wind gusts of around 110 miles per hour, or a Category 2 storm, according to an analysis of regulatory filing and other company records by McCullough Research, a consulting firm based in Portland, Ore., that advises power companies and government agencies.

September 15, 2021
Ida’s damage could spur reckoning over costs of grid defense
EE News – Peter Behr
“Many utilities wait until older equipment is destroyed,” or reaches its predetermined lifetime — 30 years for major transmission infrastructure along the Gulf Coast, McCullough said.

September 9, 2021
Experts Call for Tx Reinforcements, Microgrids in Gulf System After Ida
RTO Insider LLC – Holden Mann, Amanda Durish Cook, and Rich Heidorn Jr
McCullough said utilities should “break the cycle of seeking after-the-fact regulatory approval for storm damage” and “adopt depreciation schedules that reflect a more accurate estimate of the life of transmission and distribution equipment subjected to extreme storm weather.”

September 1, 2021
Entergy’s Push to Restore Power in Louisiana Is Slowed by Downed Lines
NY Times – Ivan Penn and Peter Eavis
“Their vintage equipment didn’t stand up to Laura, and I suspect the same report for Ida,” said Robert McCullough.

August 6, 2021
Texas power grid faces summer having changed little from February freeze
E&E News – Peter Behr and Edward Klump
“[E]xtensive evidence from the February outages indicate that [grid regulatory] policies are poorly understood and are implemented in an ad hoc fashion,”

June 24, 2021
Texas power grid faces summer having changed little from February freeze
Reuters – Tim Mclaughlin
“This means that it may not be optimal to maintain and weatherize all equipment, if a minor problem that reduces generation by 50% can provide enormous profit potential,” McCullough and his team of analysts said in a report this month.

June 16, 2021
The last thing California needed: Drought adds to electricity woes as hydro power dries up
Sacramento Bee – Dale Kasler
Those plants will generate enough electricity to supply local demands but [they] “might not be available during the late afternoon, early evening hours, when California needs it,” said Robert McCullough of McCullough Research, an electricity consulting firm in Portland.

June 15, 2021
Texas Power Grid, Strained Last Winter, Now Faces an Early Heat Wave
The New York Times – John Schwartz and Ivan Penn

“We’re talking about a fragile system,” Mr. McCullough said, adding “We’re basically seeing the exact same system we were seeing four months ago.”

March 10, 2021
The MARTINZ Critical Review – Ep#54 – An update on the ongoing saga of Site C dam – now with a $16b price tag for completion
The MARTINZ – Michael Martinz


March 10, 2021
Site C: 10 things you need to know about the dam’s latest review now that B.C. is forging ahead
The Narwhal – Sarah Cox

But U.S. energy economist Robert McCullough told The Narwhal that the government pulled the 10-year figure out of thin air. 

McCullough said there’s no requirement — in B.C., or anywhere else in North America — for the money to be recovered over one decade. 

March 3, 2021
Texas power grid president and CEO fired for winter storm outages
NY Daily News – Joseph Wilkinson

“When the person in charge says, ‘Oh, by the way, you need to winterize your pipes,’ you should actually do that,” energy expert Robert McCullough said. “The word stupid comes to mind.”

March 2, 2021
Peace Valley Landowner Association reacts to Site C decision – John Flatter

McCullough also says the British Columbia government’s analysis of cancellation costs and repayment timetable is flawed. BC Hydro says regulatory law requires Site C cancellation costs of $10.2 billion be written off within 10 years, which puts the province’s “AAA” credit rating at risk. The report finds this is incorrect. One alternative is for the BC government to take the debt off BC Hydro’s books and pay the debt off over a longer period of time, minimizing the effect to ratepayers and taxpayers.

February 27, 2021
As Texans went without heat, light or water, some companies scored a big payday
The Washington Post – Will Englund and Neena Satija

“Texas has paid the price,” said Robert McCullough, an energy analyst based in Oregon whose firm calculated the $50 billion figure. “Well, some people in Texas are paying a very high price. And some are making out very well.”

February 26, 2021
Texas Blackout Hearings Highlight Intertwined Risks of Natural Gas, Power Grid and Deregulated Market?
Green Tech Media – Jeff St. John
The resulting spike in overall power costs for the week appears to have reached roughly $50 billion, according to a Thursday report from Larry Kellerman, managing director of I Squared Capital, and Robert McCullough, principal of McCullough Research.

February 23, 2021
As Oregon faces more extreme weather, what can the state do to keep the lights on?
Think Out Loud, OPB – Elizabeth Castillo, Interview by Dave Miller
Hundreds of thousands of Oregonians were left without power last week due to ice, snow and fallen trees. As severe weather becomes more common, experts say that these types of power outages will too. We hear from Robert McCullough, an energy consultant in Portland, about what needs to change to make Oregon’s power grid more resilient.

February 23, 2021
‘I can’t afford this’ – Variable rate electricity customers in disbelief at massive power bills after winter storm
KHOU – Anastasiya Bolton

“We regulate safety,” McCullough said. “We don’t say you can take a cheaper airplane, but it may fall out of the sky. The right answer is we need a mandated reliability level for the state like all of the surrounding states. In order to meet that, you have to guarantee your equipment is fit to operate.”

February 23, 2021
After 45 Hours Without Electricity, Some Top Takeaways From The Texas Blackouts
Forbes – Robert Bryce
Larry Kellerman, a managing director of I Squared Capital, and Robert McCullough of McCullough Research, published a report which said, “the origins of this disaster included the lowest reserve margins in North America, ignoring basic maxims of preparing for bad winter weather, and a market design that rewards shortages (rather than the resolution of shortages) at the cost of consumers.”

February 21, 2021
His Lights Stayed on During Texas’ Storm. Now He Owes $16,752
The New York Times – Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs and Ivan Penn

“The similar situation caused a wave of bankruptcies as retailers and customers discovered that they were on the hook for bills 30 times their normal levels,” Mr. McCullough said. “We are going to see this again.”

February 21, 2021
White House says Biden is ‘eager’ to go to Texas, possibly as soon as this week
The Washington Post – Paulina Firozi, Amy B Wang, and Peter Whoriskey

“We are about to see a wave of bankruptcies, foreclosures, and evictions as these bills hit consumer and retailer mailboxes,” said Robert McCullough, a consultant and former utilities executive who has testified before Congress. McCullough noted that electric companies are profiting from the price spikes. Those serving Texas’s main power grid— the portion managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) — garnered $40 billion in windfall revenue, according to his estimates. “Somebody won big,” McCullough said. “That’s not all profit, but I suspect most of it will be.”

February 20, 2021
Texas disaster: Lone Star state living wintry nightmare without power, water and answers

“It’s pretty straightforward: They don’t have enough capacity, unlike everywhere else in North America,” said McCullough. “They’ve had 20 years of discussion about mandating the winterization of pipelines and power resources, and haven’t done anything.”

February 19, 2021
Yes, Texas Is In Bad Shape Now, But It’s Only Going To Get Worse
DC Report – David Cay Johnson

“A blistering assessment of the Texas situation was provided to DCReport by two deeply informed electricity experts, Larry Kellerman, managing director of private equity investor I Squared Capital, and Robert McCullough, an independent utility economist in Oregon. Kellerman’s firm is a $24.5 billion private equity fund that invests in modernizing electric utility systems. McCullough is feared by utilities because of his ability to cut through their obfuscations with killer facts and smart financial analysis.”

February 16, 2021
Through Chattering Teeth, Texans Criticize Extended Power Outages
New York Times – David Montgomery, Rick Rojas, Ivan Penn and James Dobbins

“Robert McCullough, of McCullough Research in Portland, Ore., said he and others have long warned about the potential for catastrophe because Texas simply lacked backup for extreme weather events increasingly commonplace as a result of climate change. ‘What they’ve done is systematic unpreparedness,’ Mr. McCullough said. ‘It was not inadvertent. They planned this outcome.'”

January 14, 2021
Horgan announces two new expert reviews amid mounting Site C dam safety concerns
The Narwhal – Sarah Cox

A report by U.S. energy economist Robert McCullough, commissioned by the Peace Valley Landowner Association, said the dam will conservatively cost an additional $2.1 billion and ratepayers will save an initial $116 million a year if the project is scrapped and the same amount of energy is procured from other sources.


November 22, 2020
Steam-powered energy systems, like the one used by West Haven VA hospital, have long history
New Haven Register – Luther Turmelle

“The pressure associated with creating steam ‘is harder on a system’s piping as it gets older,’ McCullough said. Replacing the piping and boilers district systems requires is not cost-effective and, as a result, the systems are being replaced with new technologies over time, according to McCullough.”

October 21, 2020
Top B.C. government officials knew Site C dam was in serious trouble over a year ago: FOI docs
The Narwhal – Sarah Cox

“‘Literally, if we look at some of the academic articles that have been written about this, we could be talking about a dam that’s going to crack or slide in the case of an earthquake,’ said McCullough, a former officer for a large hydroelectric facility in Portland, Oregon, who has studied the Site C project extensively.”

October 19, 2020
Promise or Peril? Importing Hydropower to Fuel the Clean Energy Transition
The Revelator – Tara Lohan

“New research by energy analyst Robert McCullough, who runs a Portland, Oregon-based consulting Firm, found that if the project continues it’s likely to have surplus energy that will need to be sold outside the province at a loss to ratepayers.”

October 16, 2020
Scrapping B.C.’s Site C dam could lead to $116 million in savings every year: energy economist
The Narwhal – Sarah Cox

“A number of factors make it uneconomical to finish the dam, even though 48 per cent of the project has officially been completed, McCullough said. That number drops to 43 per cent when the currently identified geotechnical problems are addressed, he said, noting there may be even bigger problems that have not yet been publicly disclosed.”

October 16, 2020
‘Cash bonfire’: Report says cancelling Site C would save ratepayers $116 million
Alaska Highway News – Tom Summer

“McCullough says cancelling the project is the best economic option due to geotechnical issues and seismic activity risks, falling costs for wind and solar, and a $1.1-billion dollar loss by BC Hydro in related interest contracts.”

October 15, 2020
Cancel Site C? Horgan says he’ll ‘take action’ if report finds ‘it’s the wrong way to proceed’
Global News – Simon Little

“In her comments, Furstenau pointed to a recent report by energy analyst Robert McCullough, which found that BC Hydro could save ratepayers $116 million per year by scrapping the project immediately, and accused the NDP of pursuing the dam despite warnings.”

October 14, 2020
Vaughn Palmer: Only when Horgan is safely in office will public get straight goods about Site C
Vancouver Sun – Vaughn Palmer

“‘After 10 months of study, B.C. Hydro has not addressed a number of seismic and design concerns first reported to management in December 2019,’ writes McCullough in a report released this week by the Peace Valley Landowners Association. ‘A careful review indicates that correction of the current problems will delay the in-service date by one year and raise costs by an additional $2.1 billion.'”

September 3, 2020
Should the City Of San Diego Be Its Own Power Company?
KPBS News – Shalina Celani

“McCullough believes the investor owned utility model won’t last as more people opt for technology like solar panels and cities form community energy programs.”

August 30, 2020
Theories Abound over California Blackouts Case
RTO Insider – Hudson Sangree and Robert Mullin

“Energy economist Robert McCullough offered a contrarian view on the blackouts. He raised the possibility that CAISO’s flawed market design or even market manipulation caused the outages. A longtime observer of California’s electricity sector, McCullough pointed to CAISO’s highly complex convergence bidding market, a mechanism that allows market participants to hedge their physical positions and limit exposure to day-ahead and real-time price differentials.”

August 28, 2020
Calif. Outage Timing ‘Suspicious’; PGE Battered by ‘Ill-Advised’ Trades
Clearing Up – Steve Ernst

“‘If California’s reserve margins are inaccurate, that is catastrophic. We are talking about the most populous state with a Third World electrical system,’ McCullough Said.”

August 27, 2020
Blackout mystery: How did Oregon traders blow $104 million betting on California grid?
San Luis Obispo Tribune – Dale Kasler

“Exactly what happened hasn’t been disclosed. But Robert McCullough, an electricity consultant who lives in Portland and monitors California’s power grid, said it appeared the traders had entered into complex financial contracts, known as derivatives, that are based on expectations of future price movements in California electricity.”

August 25, 2020
PGE Traders Burned by California Heat Wave
RTO Insider – Robert Mullin

“Portland-based energy economist Robert McCullough pointed to the potential impact of CAISO’s convergence bidding market on PGE’s trading woes. ‘The nature of a relatively unregulated pure derivative — like the convergence market in California — has an enormously asymmetric risk profile. In English, this means that a prudent trade, on rare occasions, can lose 50 times the expected profit,’ McCullough said.”

August 24, 2020
PGE says ʻill conceivedʼ trades cost the utility at least $104 million; stock slides 8.3%
The Oregonian – Ted Sickinger

“Robert McCullough, a Portland energy consultant, said PGE’s losses may have been in that market, which can help utilities manage power costs when electricity is trading within normal bands, but is wildly risky when wholesale power prices take the kind of swings they have recently.”

August 21, 2020
Poor Planning Left California Short of Electricity in a Heat Wave
New York Times – Ivan Penn

“‘This is like brain surgery,’ said Robert McCullough, a utility industry consultant in Oregon. ‘You don’t make mistakes. People actually die when you mess it up.'”

August 18, 2020
CAISO Blames Blackouts on Inadequate Resources
RTO Insider – Hudson Sangree and Robert Mullin

“Robert McCullough, an energy economist who was among the first to spot the market manipulation behind the Western energy crisis of 2000/01, pointed to why the convergence bidding market that still exists inside the CAISO remains ‘worrisome.'”

August 17, 2020
Newsom wants probe of California blackouts, as grid officials suspend volatile power trading
Sacramento Bee – Dale Kasler

“McCullough, a frequent critic of the ISO’s trading system, said convergence bidding lets traders place major bets on electricity prices at hundreds of physical points, called “nodes,” the day before the power is consumed, and then cash in a day later.”

August 7, 2020
Connecticut residents still in the dark days after Isaias, as officials criticize utility companies’ storm response
NBC News – Olivia Roos

“‘People are going to have their lights go out more and more because the weather is changing,’ McCullough said. ‘A lot of the energy system’s equipment is over 100 years old. We are going to have to reimagine our energy systems to adapt to new environmental systems.'”

May 20, 2020
Floodwaters Breach Michigan Dams, Forcing Evacuations
New York Times – Emily Rose Bennett

“The federal commission generally provides better oversight of the dams under its purview than state agencies do, according to Robert McCullough of McCullough Research, based in Portland, Ore. As a result, he said, federally regulated dams generally have performed well.”

April 27, 2020
Corona-induced slowdown hitting solar power industry, long-term impact not clear
New Haven Register – Luther Turmelle

“The economic slowdown brought on by the coronavirus crisis has some renewable energy advocates making dire forecasts about the industry’s future.”

April 9, 2020
PMT Webinar Panel Describes Markets at Crossroads
Power Markets Today

“FERC and other regulators set up a system that is too complex for them to understand”, McCullough Research’s Robert McCullough argued.

January 10, 2020
With Earthquakes and Storms, Puerto Ricoʼs Power Grid Canʼt Catch a Break
The New York Times – Patricia Mazzei, Ivan Penn and Frances Robles

“This really is the point at which we have to face the fact that the current institutions just aren’t doing the job,” said Robert McCullough of McCullough Research, a utility consulting firm based in Portland, Ore. “It really is like one of the slow-motion accidents in a movie. You really wish it would end.”

January 8, 2020
No American City Has Ever Tried a Climate Justice Tax Like the One Portland Is Launching. What’s the Plan?
Willamette Week – Nigel Jaquiss

Robert McCullough, a Portland energy economist, says the fund faces two challenges: the declining effectiveness of energy efficiency measures, and the city’s poor track record of fiscal prudence.


November 9, 2019
Mayors’ ambitious plan for customer-owned PG&E fix would put California on uncharted electricity path
The Mercury News – John Woolfolk

“This is unprecedented,” said  Robert McCullough, and energy consultant and adjunct professor of economics at Portland State University.

November 3, 2019
How PG&E fell 10 years behind San Diego on wildfire safety
The Mercury News – Paul Rogers

“San Diego has been a leader. Are we reading about them in the papers because of their failures? We haven’t been,” said Robert McCullough, a veteran energy consultant in Portland, Oregon, and adjunct professor of economics at Portland State University.

September 12, 2019
Can ERCOT be held accountable for its errors?
Houston Chronicle – L.M. Sixel

If ERCOT is to be covered by sovereign immunity, it should be reconstituted as a government agency with the board appointed by the governor and subject to open meeting and public record laws, said Robert McCullough, a Portland, Ore. energy analyst who follows deregulation issues. That would make the governor ultimately responsible.

July 26, 2019
A May price spike shows vulnerability of power market to manipulation- and cost to consumers
Houston Chronicle – L.M. Sixel

To critics, the plans provide a way to drive prices higher with the approval of regulators. When regulators agree to these kind of deals, they are effectively saying they don’t have the resources to determine whether price spikes are legitimate, said Robert McCullough, an Oregon energy analyst who follows deregulation issues.

June 30, 2019
How robots could help keep the lights on as climate change worsens
CBC News – David Burke

But some people doubt that transmission line robots will become widely used. Robert McCullough is one of them. He’s a consultant who has spent 25 years working with public utilities and private energy firms in Canada and the U.S.  McCullough said the cutting-edge robots will soon be obsolete. 

June 17, 2019
Trump Wants to Sell Public Power Agencies to Wall Street
DC Report Editor-in-Chief, David Cay Johnston

BPA transmission charges after a sale would rise by at least 24%, utility economist Robert McCullough calculated for DCReport.
McCullough is a cheerful Oregon utility economist. He has a long track record of exposing utility industry cost estimates as low-ball fantasies designed to trick regulators and customers. He was formerly the chief economist for Portland General Electric, a for-profit Oregon monopoly.

June 4, 2019
Another Mirage?
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, Editorial Board

In Monday’s paper, the Sentinel’s Dennis Webb outlined the economic factors that put Jordan Cove at a 25% cost disadvantage, according to Portland-based McCullough Research. Consultant Robert McCullough’s energy research firm gives the project a no more than 34% chance of reaching the operational stage.

June 2, 2019
Energy consultant doubts Jordan Cove economics

The Daily Sentinel, Dennis Webb

Oregon energy researcher and consultant Robert McCullough has done work in the liquefied natural gas realm while keeping an eye on the controversial Jordan Cove LNG proposal in his home state.

March 18, 2019
How PG&E Ignored California Fire Risks in Favor of Profits

New York Times, Ivan Penn

The risk of wildfires in California has clearly gone up, but Robert McCullough, a longtime consultant to energy companies and state and federal officials investigating them, said there would have been far fewer destructive fires had PG&E followed San Diego’s lead years ago.

“Their culture of a lack of safety is unique, in my opinion,” he said.

January 15, 2019
Top US utility company prepares bankruptcy filing after California wildfires


California’s average rate is 16 cents per kilowatt hour, while those in neighboring Oregon and Washington are approximately half as much, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration provided by energy consulting firm McCullough Research. The US average is 10 cents per kilowatt hour.

January 15, 2019
PG&E restructuring highlights arcane California legal rule

Reuters, Jessica DiNapoli, Mike Spector, Scott DiSavino

“Inverse condemnation is a state law but a bankruptcy judge is god,” said Robert McCullough, principal at energy consulting firm McCullough Research in Portland, Oregon, noting that PG&E faces widespread lawsuits. “He’s going to have to figure out, once he releases the company from bankruptcy, if it’s actually a viable entity.”

January 4, 2019
Hydro One, Avista hope to learn Monday if Washington Utility regulator will reverse decision on merger

Mlex Market Insight, Curtis Eichelberger

Robert McCullough, founder of McCullough Research, a Portland, Oregon-based energy consulting firm that provides strategic planning assistance and litigation support, said the companies’ application for reconsideration overlooks the fundamental shortcoming of the merger, “primarily that the second-largest utility in Washington state will be controlled by a foreign government.”


December 19, 2018
Merger, they wrote: Avista and Hydro One ask Washington regulators to reconsider rejection

Utility Dive, Peter Maloney

“I would be amazed if it worked,” Robert McCullough, principal of consulting firm McCullough Research, told Utility Dive.

McCullough said he found the filing for reconsideration “surprising” and surmised it was a result of Hydro One being “desperate to get the relatively high rate of returns” that Avista earns in Washington State.

December 5, 2018
Electrical grid expert has never seen frost cause massive power outage

CBC, Jason Warick

“This isn’t the craziest I’ve heard, but it is an unlikely explanation,” said Robert McCullough, who has 40 years of experience consulting for public utilities and private energy firms in Canada and the U.S.

December 4, 2018
PacifiCorp study puts heat on utility’s coal plants

Portland Business Journal, Peter Danko

“How rare it is that the two concerns, environment and economics, are in alignment, but they are,” said Robert McCullough, an independent energy analyst.

November 17, 2018
California fires bring upheaval to utilities as they face massive liabilities

Los Angeles Times, Matt Stiles

“It’s in their interest to gold-plate the system,” said Robert McCullough, whose Oregon-based McCullough Research consults with power companies across the nation. “Nobody wants a dangerous situation like we’re in now.”

November 15, 2018
Power Grab: The Case for and Against Avista’s Merger

Inlander, Samantha Wohlfeil

The argument is kind of like if a state governor claimed one day that the DMV was now independent, even though he still appointed the people to lead it, says Robert McCullough, a renowned Northwest utility expert who has experience with Canadian and foreign utilities, and their takeovers of Northwest utilities.

October 17, 2018
The Regulatory War on Alternative Energy

International Policy Digest, James Peron

Robert McCullough points to a series of bad decisions by state regulators. “California has this tradition of astonishingly bad decisions. They build and charge the ratepayers. There’s nothing dishonest about it. There’s nothing complicated. It’s just bad planning.”

October 8, 2018
Illinois: PJM Market Design Enriching Exelon

RTO Insider, Rory D. Sweeney

“While PJM’s Base Residual Auction has many safeguards, it does not have an explicit ability to mitigate market power on the scale exerted by Exelon in Northern Illinois,” economist Robert McCullough wrote in an affidavit.

April 17, 2018
Portland businesses on track to dodge millions in city taxes owed

The Oregonian, Gordon R. Friedman

Thousands of Portland businesses have not paid their city taxes and the problem has reached a crescendo this year, leaving millions of dollars of revenue uncollected as city bureaus prepare for budget cuts.

One City Hall observer, energy consultant Robert McCullough, has been pushing Mayor Ted Wheeler to take note of the past due business tax accounts, and to adjust city tax collection policies accordingly.

March 30, 2018
Wind Buffets Energy Landscape

The Progressive Farmer, Washington Insider

Robert McCullough, the Portland energy economist and principal at McCullough Research, said that the rapid change had caught many in the industry by surprise and that it could lead to a shorter future for natural gas.

March 28, 2018
It’s The No. 1 Power Source, But Natural Gas Faces Headwinds

New York Times, Ivan Penn

“It’s a very different world that we’re arriving at very quickly,” said Robert McCullough, an energy consultant in Portland, Ore. “That wind farm can literally be put on a train and brought online within a year. It is moving so fast that even critics of the old path like myself have been taken by surprise.”

March 12, 2018
Bitcoin mining revives forgotten US industrial towns

The National, Rob Crilly

Robert McCullough of McCullough Research, an energy consultancy in Oregon, said there were clear advantages for electricity companies at a time when consumption was dropping along with prices.

“The issue is simple. The energy crisis is over. We have vast surpluses emerging in the US and Canada. And that’s good news,” he says.

“The question is, is this a suitable load for a utility?”

March 3, 2018
Final EIS published for Bellevue-based Puget Sound Energy’s Energize Eastside project

Bellview Reporter, Raechel Dawson

CENSE said they retained energy experts to testify at public permit hearings in the coming months. One such expert is Robert McCullough, a Portland-based energy economist whose investigative work led to the criminal convictions of Enron after the California energy crisis in 2001, CENSE officials state.

“PSE still relies on 20th-century technology, instead of 21st century options like battery storage and smart technology,” McCullough is quoted in the news release. “PSE should stop using outdated technology to serve one of the world’s most vital technological centers.”

February 28, 2018
Is Bitcoin a Waste of Electricity, or Something Worse?

The New York Times, Binyamin Appelbaum

Some American utilities, too, are hungry for new customers. Domestic demand for electricity is in decline as power-hungry industries, like aluminum smelting, have moved to other countries and households are increasingly using LED light bulbs.

“They’re thankful that anyone still wants to use energy,” said Robert McCullough of McCullough Research, an Oregon energy consultancy.

February 23, 2018
Oregon’s Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin Miners, Jamie Redman

According to local reports, cryptocurrency miners are finding themselves traveling the ‘Oregon Trail’ for cheap and reliable electricity. Terrence Thurber operates the biggest mining operation in the state called Oregonmines in a small town called Dalles. There are roughly 12 more mining operations in the Oregon, and Robert McCullough of Portland General Electric (PGE) says more facilities are on the way. However, McCullough is not too impressed by the mining movement staking claim in Oregon.

“We may well become the center of crypto-mining in the world,” the PGE consultant McCullough told the local press.

February 23, 2018
Privatizing the electric grid is a bad power play

The Seattle Times, Michael Hiltzik

“The word ‘muddle’ comes to mind,” says Robert McCullough, a respected Portland energy consultant, referring to the justification for the privatization sale included in the Trump budget.

February 21, 2018
Bitcoin Miners Are Flocking to Oregon for Cheap Electricity. Should We Give Them a Boost?

Willamette Week, Katie Shepherd

“We may well become the center of cryptomining in the world,” says Robert McCullough, an energy consultant who once set power rates at Portland General Electric. “We may find our burgeoning surplus of energy will make us quite a capital for useless servers solving useless puzzles. It’s not as if we have a huge amount of employment attached. It’s not as if you’re going to have a big staff and a lot of smart people working on it.”

February 21, 2018
Trump renews DOA proposal on BPA grid

The Albany Democrat-Herald, Mike McInally

It would be not such a sweet deal for Northwest ratepayers, who likely would be facing rate increases intended to cover the rising cost of transmission: One estimate from Robert McCullough, a Portland energy consultant, is that the cost of transmission could increase some 44 percent.

February 17, 2018
PGE study: low-carbon grid is doable, affordable

The Oregonian, Ted Sickinger

“The utilities should love this” future, said Robert McCullough, a Portland energy consultant, noting that utilities don’t earn a rate of return on their fuel costs, only the capital they invest in hardware. “This is a lot of new hardware.”

February 16, 2018
NW Condemns Trump Call to Sell BPA Grid, Charge Market Rates for Power

Clearing Up, Rick Adair

In email comments, Portland-based economist Robert McCullough said additional impacts of the administration’s proposal to sell BPA’s transmission assets would be market power

February 16, 2018
Who would profit if Trump privatizes the electrical grid? Not consumers on the West Coast

Los Angeles Times, MICHAEL HILTZIK

“The word ‘muddle’ comes to mind,” says Robert McCullough, a respected Portland energy consultant, referring to the justification for the privatization sale included in the Trump budget.

The White House suggests that selling the Bonneville grid would result in lower costs. But that narrative, McCullough wrote in a blistering assessment of the proposal, “displays a severe lack of understanding about the process of setting transmission rates.”

February 12, 2018
City moving ahead with plans for solar park

Pharos Tribune, Mitchell Kirk

Logansport officials are moving forward with a plan to develop a solar field on the city’s west side.

City Council voted last week to commit $10,000 to McCullough Research in Portland Oregon. The firm will draft a request for proposals for developing the solar park, evaluate submissions and make a recommendation. The funds will come from the city’s county economic development income tax fund.

February 9, 2018
Site C Dam – still on life support as opposition continues

National Observer, Warren Bell

Strong negative reactions to the Site C approval came from leading economic analysts like Robert McCullough – arguably one of the most experienced energy project consultants in North America, and advisor to governments, utilities and First Nations – and Harry Swain, former federal deputy minister of industry, and now Associate Fellow at the Centre for Global Studies, who in 2013 chaired a federal-provincial Joint Review Panel examining the environmental impact of Site C.

February 1, 2018
City contemplates moving forward with solar

Pharos Tribune, Mitchell Kirk

The committee already has a request for proposals that the desired consultant has drafted that LMU Superintendent Paul Hartman is reviewing, Morris said.

Morris said by phone Thursday that McCullough Research out of Portland, Oregon is the firm the committee wants to hire to assist with the solar project.

January 12, 2018
Horgan preaches pragmatism after favourable Site C poll

Chemainus Valley Courier, Jan Slakov

Not giving up the fight, Site C opponents have organized a summit, to be held in the provincial capital at the end of this month. Guest speakers will include several First Nations leaders, plus Harry Swain, who chaired the federal-provincial joint review panel on Site C, and Robert McCullough, one of the half-dozen experts who briefed the NDP cabinet in a confidential session late last year.

January 12, 2018
Experts shed light on approval of Site C project

Chemainus Valley Courier, Jan Slakov

Amnesty International’s report shows that a government “environmental impact assessment concluded that the dam would ‘severely undermine’ use of the land, would make fishing unsafe, and would submerge burial grounds and other crucial cultural and historic sites.”

Most damning, when B.C. cabinet ministers suggest cancellation of the site C project would “incur an immediate $3-4 billion public charge on either Hydro ratepayers or B.C. taxpayers,” Robert McCullough has shown that this isn’t actually the case. Former president and CEO of BC Hydro, Marc Eliesen, states, “If (John) Horgan were really concerned about the financial impact of Site C on taxpayers and ratepayers, he would have cancelled the project.”

January 10, 2018
Site C a train wreck in slow motion

Alaska Highway News, Ken Boon

It’s noteworthy that just two days later, Alberta announced a new Canadian record low purchase price of just 3.7 cents per KW for 600 MW of wind energy. By comparison, that’s about 2.5 times cheaper than the break-even price for Site C power.

Alberta had only planned on purchasing 400 MW, but they decided to lock in for 50% more power at those low prices. By the way, it will only cost $1 billion to build that 600 MW of wind energy, while Site C at $10.7 billion is 1100 MW. These are the sort of numbers energy economist Robert McCullough spoke about in the BCUC review, and that BC Hydro tried to discredit.


December 15, 2017
NDP Government’s Site C Math a Flunk, Say Project Financing Experts

Desmog Canada, Sarah Cox

McCullough, a former officer for a large hydroelectric facility in Portland, Oregon, said Site C’s sunk costs — mainly accrued as former Premier Christy Clark attempted to push the project past the “point of no return” — can be amortized over the 70 years that Site C was expected to produce electricity, in keeping with standard procedure for North American utilities.

December 14, 2017
Peace Valley opponents of Site C dam ask auditor general for “urgent examination” of NDP government decision

Global News, Jon Azpiri

Attorney General David Eby made this claim in a statement posted on his constituency website about the Site C dam approval.

“In contrast,” Eby stated, “we were advised that if we continued the project, even if it went significantly over budget, the accounting treatment of the completed project as an ‘asset’ would enable it to be repaid over 70 years by ratepayers with a significantly different impact on rates and public accounts.”

Eby’s claim was contradicted by Portland-based energy consultant Robert McCullough, a consultant to the two Peace Valley organizations.

McCullough maintained in a letter to Botterell and landowner Ken Boon that B.C. Utilities Commission reviewers were very clear how to account for sunk costs and reclamation costs.

December 12, 2017
Site C didn’t need to be approved just because money was already spent: critics

Global News, Jon Azpiri

McCullough, who thinks Site C has the potential to be a multi-billion-dollar boondoggle, goes back to Kahneman’s example of the ticketholder driving through the snow.

December 11, 2017
Sunshine State lags on solar power, doubles down on natural gas

The Vancouver Sun, Roland Willson

Utilities do need some extra capacity as a cushion to avoid blackouts. The North American Electric Reliability Corp. uses a 15 percent reserve — after accounting for certain efforts to reduce energy use — as the standard for systems like those in Florida. Robert McCullough, a former utility executive now with energy consulting firm McCullough Research, said that even less — around 10 percent — would be sufficient for Florida.

November 29, 2017
Opinion: Mythbusters, the BCUC, and the Site C dam

The Center for Public Integrity, Jamie Smith and Kristen Lombardi

International energy expert Robert McCullough, who helped uncover the Enron scandal, points to the falling costs of wind and solar, and believes cancelling the dam will actually save British Columbia up to $4 billion dollars.

November 29, 2017
Peace Valley Landowner Association lawyer alleges that B.C. Hydro wants to re-open Site C review

The Georgia Straight

We have asked energy expert Robert McCullough to review the November 16, 2017 letter, and he has advised that several of the points that BC Hydro has sought to represent as neutral calculation errors are in fact points that invite substantive counter-argument and evidence, both on substantive input and methodology. If given the opportunity, Mr. McCullough would present persuasive evidence in this regard.

November 28, 2017
Pressure mounts on government to finish Site C

Business in Vancouver, Nelsen Bennett

American energy expert Robert McCullough, hired by the Peace Valley Landowner Association to challenge the project, says there is no reason the $4 billion cost of cancelling Site C can’t be amortized over 30 years, which would still require a 6% increase.

Cancelling Site C would save British Columbians $8 billion, something McCullough calls a “termination dividend.”

November 27, 2017
Site C dam’s sustainability on top of BC NDP’s agenda

The Globe and Mail, Justine Hunter

Both energy lawyer David Austin and consultant Robert McCullough will strongly advocate that the NDP government terminate construction, even at a loss of $4-billion, saying the alternatives will still be cheaper.

November 24, 2017
Horgan calls experts to offer cabinet insight on Site C

The Vancouver Sun, Vaughn Palmer

Don Wright, Horgan’s deputy minister, has also taken the unusual step of assembling a group of experts to take an oath of confidentiality and address the cabinet directly at a behind-closed-door session next Thursday.

“We’ve invited six experts that are well known in industry and in energy circles, to come and give us their views, just a 10- or 15-minute presentation from each of them, and then a bit of a debate,” said Horgan.

The six: Marc Jaccard, the Simon Fraser University professor who headed the utilities commission under the last NDP government. Robert McCullough, the Oregon-based energy consultant to the Peace Valley Landowners. David Craig with the major commercial power consumers.

Colleen Giroux-Schmidt from one of the private power producers. Karen Tam Wu of the environmentalist Pembina institute. David Austin, consultant lawyer for the Clean Energy Association.

November 22, 2017
John Horgan invites experts to cabinet for Site C dam debate

The Globe and Mail, Justine Hunter

On Wednesday in Vancouver, the senior expert retained by opponents of the dam, Robert McCullough, released a report outlining why the public would be better off with cancelling the project – even at an estimated loss of $4-billion. With the savings from cancelling the project, Mr. McCullough estimated, B.C. could build 25,000 new homes in the Vancouver area. Mr. McCullough is set to take part in the cabinet briefing on Nov. 30.

November 21, 2017
West Moberly and Prophet River First Nations warn Ministers of billion-dollar lawsuit if Site C goes ahead

Energetic City, Chris Newton

“The leading energy expert Robert McCullough estimates that cancelling the dam would save British Columbians about $4 billion,” said Chief Willson. “You can make that $5 billion because if the NDP approves this boondoggle they’ll force us to seek damages for infringement of our Treaty.”

November 3, 2017
Any Site C dam option will cost billions for B.C.

APTN National News, Tina House

McCullough said that First Nation communities are far too often ignored when it comes to projects like this.

“They tend not to get the input that they should in my opinion,” he said. “Clearly these changes in their environment need to be taken very seriously.”

November 3, 2017
Vaughn Palmer: Columbia River Treaty interesting option as NDP ponders Site C

The Vancouver Sun, Vaughn Palmer

But the panel also recounts a novel, perhaps groundbreaking, submission from Robert McCullough, the US-based energy expert retained by the anti-Site C Peace Valley Landowners Association.

November 2, 2017
Site C dam not needed for power, B.C. Utilities Commission says

The Globe and Mail, Justine Hunter

BC Hydro gave the BCUC multiple reasons to ignore the option: It says it is not allowed to use that power under the Clean Energy Act, which requires that the province be energy self-sufficient; it says there isn’t enough transmission capacity to move the power to the B.C. grid; and it says the treaty can be terminated, with 10 years’ notice, and therefore isn’t secure.

However, the panel said it found the arguments made by energy expert Robert McCullough, who was retained by Site C opponents, more persuasive than Hydro’s objections. Mr. McCullough said the United States needs B.C. to continue to manage water flows.

November 2, 2017
B.C.’s massive Site C dam project could run 50 per cent over budget: commission
The Globe and Mail, Justine Hunter

Robert McCullough is the energy expert retained by leading opponents of the dam, the Peace Valley Landowner Association, to craft submissions to the review. He told reporters on Wednesday he is delighted with the findings.

October 13, 2017
Scrapping Site C and developing wind and solar could save billions, analyst says
CBC News, Liam Britten

Scrapping the Site C Dam project and aggressively pursuing wind power could save B.C. between $2 and $4.4 billion according to an energy analyst hired by the Peace Valley Landowners Association, which opposes the project.

Robert McCullough presented his findings Friday at a Vancouver hearing held by the B.C. Utilities Commission in Vancouver to review the project.

October 13, 2017
Alternatives to Site C would cost $1.8 to $3.4 billion: BCUC

Business Vancouver, Nelson Bennett

Robert McCullough, a consultant hired by the Peace Valley Landowner Association, which is opposed to the dam, praised the BCUC report and generally agrees with its calculations, although he thinks it was unnecessary to include battery storage, since B.C.’s existing hydro-electric dams can be used like batteries to backstop wind when it is not producing power.

October 10, 2017
Lowball bid proving to be costly for Site C project

Business Vancouver, Nelson Bennett

“Clearly, the evidence is there’s a massive claim from the partners to BC Hydro,” said Robert McCullough, a consultant hired by the Peace Valley Landowner Association, which wants the dam project halted. “They’ve underbid. That’s the definition of underbid.”

October 2, 2017
The facts are piling up against the Site C dam

The Tyee, Candace Batychi

International energy expert Robert McCullough shared the same sentiment, saying, “There is no need for the project. Even if there was, we’d have cheaper alternatives that are more agile, easier to site, easier to finish, and much less expensive.”

September 29, 2017
B.C. official accidentally publishes “embarrassing” costs of hydro dam

Vice News Canada, Chris Arsenault

The British Columbia Utilities Commission, the government body reviewing the dam, published part of the Deloitte report on its website earlier this month with sections blacked-out, said Robert McCullough, a U.S.-based energy consultant who first flagged the uncensored report.

September 29, 2017
Has trust faded for “open, transparent” Site C review?

The Vancouver Sun, Vaughn Palmer

Only this week did I discover that U.S.-based energy expert Robert McCullough had obtained an unredacted version and posted it on his site. He subsequently took it down when requested to do so by the commission.

September 27, 2017
Vaughn Palmer: Public unfairly kept in dark on Site C’s ‘gory’ details

The Vancouver Sun, Vaughn Palmer

“The regulatory process is doing what it should – it’s bringing the facts to light, and where they are not available, demanding them,” said energy consultant Robert McCullough, who was retained by opponents of the dam to provide expert testimony to the BCUC.

September 21, 2017
B.C. utilities regulator raises questions about Site C dam in new report

The Globe and Mail, Justine Hunter

“The regulatory process is doing what it should – it’s bringing the facts to light, and where they are not available, demanding them,” said energy consultant Robert McCullough, who was retained by opponents of the dam to provide expert testimony to the BCUC.

September 21, 2017
Radio Interview

News Talk 980 CKNW, Vancouver BC

Robert McCullough discusses the British Columbia Utilities Commission Preliminary Report.

September 21, 2017
Radio Interview

CFAX 1070 AM, Victoria BC

The morning after its release, Robert McCullough discusses what is in the British Columbia Utilities Commission Preliminary Report.

September 20, 2017
Radio Interview

CFAX 1070 AM, Victoria BC

Just hours before its release, Robert McCullough discusses what might be in the British Columbia Utilities Commission Preliminary Report.

September 20, 2017
UPDATE: BCUC’s Site C Preliminary Report to be released today

Energetic City, Chris Newton

A report by McCullough Research commissioned by the Peace Valley Environment Association and Peace Valley Landowners Association released last week suggests it would still be less expensive to cancel the project and contract for renewable energy producers to meet new demand.

September 14, 2017
Report Says Stopping Site C Could Save Money

DeSmog Canada, Judith Lavoie

Robert McCullough of McCullough Research says it would cost B.C. much less to build a renewable energy portfolio that doesn’t include Site C and that such a portfolio would still meet the Province’s clean energy goals.

September 14, 2017
Terminating Site C Dam, building Alternatives could save B.C. over $1B: Economist

DeSmog Canada, Judith Lavoie

In addition to the Deloitte report, a submission to the commission by renowned hydroelectric consultant Robert McCullough, who was contracted by the Peace Valley Landowner Association and Peace Valley Environment Association, concluded that renewables could meet B.C.’s power needs at a much lower cost than Site C.

September 14, 2017
Report says scrapping Site C now will save Hydro ratepayers $1.6 billion

Energetic City, Chris Newton

The McCullough Report responds to BC Hydro’s submission to the BC Utilities Commission inquiry into the 1,100 megawatt dam, as well as the two reports by Deloitte LLP that were published by the BCUC last Friday.

September 13, 2017
BC could save $1.6 billion if Site C isn’t completed: report
News 1130, Kenny Mason

Robert McCullough is one of the people behind the report from McCullough Research.

He says with the price of wind and solar energy generation continuing to drop, it doesn’t make sense to invest so much money into hydroelectricity.

September 13, 2017
Canceling Site C project would save B.C. $1.6B: report

CKNW,  Matt Lee

International energy expert Robert McCullough, who authored the report, says it backs up the findings of a recent report from auditing firm Deloitte LLP, which suggested there are better alternatives.

September 13, 2017
Utilities Commission was warned of Site C cost overruns, delays
The Tyee,  Andrew Nikiforuk

“We don’t need the power, and even if we did the alternatives are cheaper,” said McCullough.

September 12, 2017
Falling Costs of Renewable Power Make Site C Dam Obsolete, Says Energy Economist
DeSmog Canada, Judith Lavoie

“We can conclude that most of the LNG terminals currently under consideration in B.C. won’t see the light of day. Thus, BC Hydro’s expected increase in consumption to electrify LNG facilities will not materialize,” said McCullough who agreed to a Q&A with DeSmog Canada.

September 11, 2017
Lawmakers move to add other states to oversight of California’s electric grid
Los Angeles Times, Ivan Penn and Chris Megerian

 “’Their model is not sophisticated enough to work with the rest of the West Coast,’ McCullough said.”

September 7, 2017
Not a done deal: gas plant faces hurdles
Illinois Times, Bruce Rushton

“These guys have chosen the wrong side of the border, it sounds like,” McCullough said. “You really don’t want to build a huge plant in southern Illinois.”

August 28, 2017
Multiple violations found at state’s nuclear power plant
KING-5 News, Susannah Frame

“The good news is, as far as I’ve seen, none of these things are immediately dangerous but the bad news is we’re getting quite a list of them, and it’s time to take a good hard look at what we are doing there,” said McCullough. “We’re reaching that point where we’re seeing enough of these problems we’ve begun to worry if the plant is being sufficiently maintained.”

July 20, 2017
Portland on track to pay $8 million for hydroelectric plant operations with risk of losses

Oregonian, Jessica Floum

“If PGE purchases the same amount of power next year that it has over the last four years at the rate that McCullough says wholesale power buyers are paying in the coming year, Portland will lose $300,000 next year.’It’s unlikely the city of Portland will make out like bandits because PGE will have many options,’ McCullough said at the time.”

July 7, 2017
Elon Musk said Tesla could build Australia a power storage system in 100 days

LA Times, Makeda Easter

“Although Musk is known for his ability to hype his products, his pledge isn’t so far-fetched,’ said Robert McCullough, an energy consultant who runs Oregon-based McCullough Research.”

June 28, 2017
Law firm recommends NextEra to provide city’s electricity

Pharos-Tribune, Mitchell Kirk

“Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell asked the utility service board at Tuesday’s meeting to move to provide the city’s law department, made up of City Attorney Yamir Gonzalez-Velez and LMU Attorney Jim Brugh, with the three finalist proposals Lewis & Kappes was considering. He also asked that that information be passed along to McCullough Research, a utilities consulting firm out of Portland, Oregon that the city’s board of public works and safety hired in April.”

June 23, 2017
It was hot this week. But were California officials ‘crying wolf’ with alerts that drove up electricity prices?

Los Angeles Times, Ivan Penn

“’The notion that the sky is falling is a little bewildering to us,’ said Robert McCullough, of Oregon-based McCullough Research, who works as a consultant for power companies.”

June 22, 2017
Why Californians don’t have to worry about their air conditioning conking out

Sacramento Bee, Dale Kasler

“There’s nothing particularly wrong with having too much capacity, except the ratepayer has to pay for it,’ said Robert McCullough of McCullough Research, an energy consulting firm in Portland. But he added: ‘Generally, ratepayers are willing to pay for a very reliable system.”

June 16, 2017
Privatizing Grid a Bad Idea, McCullough Report Says.

Clearing UP, Rick Adair

“Economist Robert McCullough has put numbers to the regional pushback against the Trump administration’s May 23 budget proposal to sell BPA’s grid, which he says greatly undervalues the system, would increase costs for consumers and would likely raise steep regulatory hurdles.”

June 15, 2017
Trump sale of Northwest grid a big loser, experts say

The Oregonian, Ted Sickinger

“Robert McCullough, an energy economist in Portland, called the figure ‘an unheard of low price’ that any company with the resources would snap up immediately. He said they would make a particularly attractive acquisition for Warren Buffet, whose Berkshire Hathaway Energy owns PacifiCorp and NV Energy in Nevada. PacifiCorp, like Bonneville, is a big player in the western transmission market. ‘Why would they discount it below minimum market price out of the shoot?’ he asked. ‘Has the negotiation already happened?’ ‘If it was any other president I wouldn’t fall into this conspiracy,’ he added.”

June 14, 2017
Cantwell Statement On Privatization Of Bonneville Power Administrations Transmission Assets

Bakhtar News Agency, BAKHNA

“A June 13 report from McCullough Research said proposed revenues from the sale of BPA’s transmission assets are only 80% of the value of the assets being sold.”

June 14, 2017
Selling BPA assets seen as detrimental to ratepayers

SNL Energy Finance Daily, Kelly Andrejasich

“Today, Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) responded to the report released today by McCullough Research on the privatization of Bonneville Power Administration’s transmission assets.”

June 13, 2017
Cantwell Statement On Privatization Of Bonneville Power Administration’s Transmission Assets

US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Democratic News

Responding to Robert McCullough’s report on the proposal to sell the Bonneville Power Administration’s transmission assets, US Senator Maria Cantwell said: “This report shows how damaging President Trump’s proposal is to the Northwest. Any scheme to auction off the transmission assets of federal utilities, such as the Bonneville Power Administration, is a bad deal for consumers and for jobs in the Northwest.”

June 12, 2017
Trump Fights Congress, History in Bid to Sell Tx Assets

RTO Insider, Jason Fordney and Robert Mullin

“Portland-based energy economist Robert McCullough estimates that the budget’s proposed $4.9 billion in revenues from the sale of Bonneville’s transmission network represents just 80% of the value of those assets, based on the power agency’s own published estimates. ‘This raises the question of why these valuable assets would be sold at a discount — and who would get the benefit of the discounted price,’ McCullough Research said in a June 13 report.”

May 3, 2017
Large-Scale Solar Power Is Spreading Across the U.S.

Green Building Advisor, Guest Blogs

“In the past couple of years, McCullough said, cost shifts have been so astonishing that ‘now we have really quite a revolution going on… The scary thing is you’ve now heard this from a cynic.’”

March 23, 2017
Northern Lights: Large-Scale Solar Power Is Spreading Across the U.S.

Yale Environment 360, Cheryl Katz

“’I’d been hearing that all of this is just around the corner, and then one day it was staring me in the face,’ says McCullough, principal of the Oregon-based industry consulting firm McCullough Research.”

March 10, 2017
Elon Musk’s wager that Tesla can fix South Australia’s blackouts brings the energy future closer

The Los Angeles Times, Samantha Masunaga and Ivan Penn

“’I would say, ‘Not yet, but getting close,’’ said Robert McCullough, an energy consultant who runs Oregon-based McCullough Research. Storage is still too expensive, but multiple companies are competing to push the price lower, he said.”

February 28, 2017
Guest Commentary: There’s a nuclear reactor in my backyard

Chinook Observer, Leslie March

“The Portland-based McCullough Research consulting firm estimated savings from $261.2 million to $530.7 million over 10 years”

February 27, 2017
Study: Shutting Nuclear Plant Would Save Upward of $261M

Federal Briefs, RTO Insider

“Pacific Northwest ratepayers could save hundreds of millions of dollars if the Bonneville Power Administration and Energy Northwest were to close the Columbia Generating Station and replace its output with renewable energy, according to a new study by McCullough Research.”

February 24, 2017
Report claims closing Wash. nuke could save more than $500M

SNL Extra, Kelly Andrejasich

“McCullough Research suggests that closing the plant — as soon as this year — could save Pacific Northwest ratepayers $261.2 million to $530.7 million over a roughly 10-year period.”

February 23, 2017

Newsletter, EnergyGPS

“[T]he most compellingargument made by this report is that the ongoing cost of running the CGS is well above the forward market price of around-the-clock power.”

February 23, 2017
Study: Replacing nuclear power with renewable energy could save Northwest ratepayers over $260 million

The Register-Guard, Associated Press

“’The rapid drop in renewable energy costs in recent years has been shocking to everyone,’ economist Robert McCullough said. ‘It is now possible to affordably replace aging facilities … without increasing the region’s carbon footprint.’”

February 22, 2017
Firm finds Columbia Generating Station closure would save money

Electric Light and Power, Associated Press

“’The rapid drop in renewable energy costs in recent years has been shocking to everyone,’ economist Robert McCullough said. ‘It is now possible to affordably replace aging facilities … without increasing the region’s carbon footprint.’”

February 22, 2017
Study: Savings possible by shutting down nuclear power plant

Penn Energy, Associated Press

“’The rapid drop in renewable energy costs in recent years has been shocking to everyone,’ economist Robert McCullough said. ‘It is now possible to affordably replace aging facilities … without increasing the region’s carbon footprint.’”

February 22, 2017
Study: Savings possible by shutting down nuclear power plant

The Daily Astorian, Associated Press

“Portland-based McCullough Research consulting firm estimated savings from $261.2 million to $530.7 million over 10 years due to historically low renewable energy prices.”

February 21, 2017
Study: Savings possible by shutting down nuclear power plant

San Antonio Express, Associated Press

“’The rapid drop in renewable energy costs in recent years has been shocking to everyone,’ said economist Robert McCullough. ‘It is now possible to affordably replace aging facilities … without increasing the region’s carbon footprint.'”

February 21, 2017
Study: Savings possible by shutting down WA nuclear power plant

Statesman Journal, Associated Press

“Portland-based McCullough Research consulting firm estimated savings from $261.2 million to $530.7 million over 10 years due to historically l0w renewable energy prices.”

February 21, 2017
Study: Savings possible by shutting down nuclear power plant

Idaho Statesman, Associated Press

“‘The rapid drop in renewable energy costs in recent years has been shocking to everyone,’ said economist Robert McCullough. ‘It is now possible to affordably replace aging facilities … without increasing the region’s carbon footprint.'”

February 21, 2017
Study: Savings Possible by Shutting Down Nuclear Power Plant

U.S. News, Associated Press

“Portland-based McCullough Research consulting firm estimated savings from $261.2 million to $530.7 million over 10 years due to historically low renewable energy prices.”

February 21, 2017
Study: Savings possible by shutting down nuclear power plant

New Jersey Herald, Associated Press

“’The rapid drop in renewable energy costs in recent years has been shocking to everyone,’ economist Robert McCullough said. ‘It is now possible to affordably replace aging facilities … without increasing the region’s carbon footprint.’”

February 21, 2017
Report: Shutting Columbia Generating Station nuclear facility could save millions

The Spokesman-Review, Associated Press

“’The rapid drop in renewable energy costs in recent years has been shocking to everyone,’ economist Robert McCullough said. ‘It is now possible to affordably replace aging facilities … without increasing the region’s carbon footprint.’”

February 21, 2017
Study: Savings possible by shutting down nuclear power plant

SFGATE, Associated Press

“’The rapid drop in renewable energy costs in recent years has been shocking to everyone,’ economist Robert McCullough said. ‘It is now possible to affordably replace aging facilities … without increasing the region’s carbon footprint.’”

February 21, 2017
Study: Savings possible by shutting down nuclear power plant

The Seattle Times, Associated Press

“’The rapid drop in renewable energy costs in recent years has been shocking to everyone,’ economist Robert McCullough said. ‘It is now possible to affordably replace aging facilities … without increasing the region’s carbon footprint.’”

February 18, 2017
Closing Richland Nuclear Plant Would be a Win for Ratepayers, Study Says

The Oregonian, Ted Sickinger

“‘The rapid drop in renewable energy costs in recent years has been shocking to everyone,’ said economist Robert McCullough. ‘It is now possible to affordably replace aging facilities, like the 32-year old [Columbia Generating Station] … without increasing the region’s carbon footprint.'”

February 5, 2017
Californians are Paying Billions for Power They Don’t Need

Los Angeles Times, Ivan Penn, Ryan Menezes

“Critics agree that some excess capacity is needed. And, in fact, [California] regulations require a 15% cushion. […] Even the 15% goal is ‘pretty rich,’ said Robert McCullough of Oregon-based McCullough Research, who has studied California’s excess electric capacity for both utilities and regulators. ‘Traditionally, 10% is just fine. Below 7% is white knuckle. We are a long way from white-knuckle time’ in California.”


December 14, 2016
Eversource, Dong Energy Eye Wind Farm Project

New Haven Register, Luther Turmelle

“McCullough said his prediction that Bay State Wind may be dead in the water before it even starts has more to do with economics than it does with the utility company’s track record. ‘Off-shore wind is a particularly bad choice for renewable generation given the rapidly diminishing costs of on shore wind and solar,’ he said. ‘These have fallen in price by 40 percent over the last five years. Like LED light bulbs, economies of scale are driving down the delivered cost.'”

November 3, 2016
Consultant: Logansport’s Power Agreement Could Have Been Better

Logansport Pharos-Tribune, Mitchell Kirk

“McCullough said NextEra Energy Power Marketing’s price increased during the negotiations that followed with local officials and that the firm’s rate to LMU is higher than rates reported to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its two other Indiana clients.”

October 11, 2016
Halting Construction of Site C Could Save $112-million Annually, Says Energy Expert

DeSmog Canada, Judith Lavoie

“As the cost of producing energy from wind and sun continues to drop, power produced by the Site C dam will be an increasingly bad bargain, according to leading U.S. energy economist Robert McCullough.”

August 31, 2016
CPUC Reform Legislation Still In Play For California’s Governor

Natural Gas Intelligence, Richard Nemec

“Oregon-based utility consultant Robert McCullough argues for no ex parte communications being allowed, noting that the amounts of money and potential for abuse in most major utility regulatory cases are too great.”

August 29, 2016
Even After Reforms, the State’s Energy Regulator can Still have Private Meetings with Utility Companies

Los Angeles Times, Liam Dillon

“Robert McCullough, a consultant who investigated the state energy system during the Enron Corp. scandal in 2001, argued there shouldn’t be any private communications between regulators and the industry when they’re deciding electric and gas rates for consumers. ‘The amounts of money are so huge and the potential for abuse is so great that even just a pinkie on the scale can mean millions or tens of millions [of dollars],’ McCullough said.”

August 11, 2016
Upholding Treaty Rights for First Nations

Penticton Western News, Richard Cannings

“BC citizens would benefit financially from a go-slow policy around site C; energy economist Robert McCullough has calculated that a one-year delay in construction would save us $268 million because of the current low demand for power.”

August 4, 2016
Site Unseen

Pique, Leslie Anthony

“American energy economist Robert McCullough calculated that a delay of one-year would save ratepayers $268 million, two-years, $519 million, and five-years, $1.18 billion.”

June 22, 2016
Tesla’s bid for SolarCity would bring two Elon Musk companies together

Los Angeles Times, Russ Mitchell and Ivan Penn

“McCullough said it appeared that Musk was doubling down on solar at a time when the economics of solar installations has been called into question. Solar, he said, has become so cheap that it’s becoming difficult to make money, as the industry learned with SunEdison, which went bankrupt in April. ‘These guys are victims of their own success,’ McCullough said.”

May 9, 2016
Why a SoCal Gas exec is more optimistic about avoiding summer blackouts in L.A.

Los Angeles Times, Ivan Penn

“‘The system was built with the existing storage in place’ at Aliso Canyon, said McCullough, who heads McCullough Research of Portland, Ore. ‘Everybody depended on it. What we are now seeing is full system testing, where you have to test the whole system to see what works and what doesn’t.'”

April 25, 2016
Partner in Beaverton solar project declares bankruptcy

The Oregonian, Allan Brettman

“McCullough said the project is not cost effective and never will be. Now, he said, Beaverton should exercise its contractual option to leave the project in the event of a bankruptcy declaration.”

February 17, 2016
BC Hydro Injunction Against Site C Dam Encampment ‘Fundamentally Flawed’: Former CEO Marc Eliesen

DeSmog Canada, Sara Cox

“U.S. energy economist Robert McCullough testifies that a one-year delay in construction would save B.C. ratepayers $268 million, a two-year delay would save $519 million, and a five-year delay would result in net savings of $1.18 billion. McCullough says savings result from Site C power sold at a loss due to a ‘dramatic fall in world energy prices since 2008.’”

February 16, 2016
Stalled power outlook not slowing Site C dam

Alaska Highway News, Timothy Renshaw

“Robert McCullough, principal of energy policy research company McCullough Research, said the horizontal hydraulic fracking revolution has rendered Site C ‘an expensive luxury’ in a world where the price of natural gas is roughly one-third of what it was in 2008.”

January 28, 2016
Site C: Too risky to rely on one river system for B.C.’s hyrdro needs

The Vancouver Sun, Ben Paritt

“Using industry standard assumptions, Site C is more than three times as costly as the least expensive option,” McCullough said. “Site C fares poorly when compared to cogeneration, wind, landfill and coal gasification.”

January 4, 2016
Feds rule downstate power price spike illegitimate

Crain’s Chicago Business, Steve Daniels

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission sided with Illinois Attorney General and McCullough Research client Lisa Madigan when it ruled that MISO inappropriately set the price ceiling too high in its capacity auction, vindicating reports and testimony by McCullough Research that MISO’s market rules led to price spikes in the region.

See also:

Robert McCullough’s testimony to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on behalf of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan

FERC order 20151231-3026 on MISO market manipulation under docket EL15-70 et. al


October 29, 2015
NYPSC spurns legislator’s request for generator data in N.Y. wholesale market

Electricity Daily

“Consultant Robert McCullough, whose affidavit supporting Brennan’s request made clear the ease by which one generator could obtain information on the others’ costs, told Electricity Daily, ‘New York has one of the most distorted electric markets in the world, with 8% of all bid segments over $500/MWh.’ He added, ‘I think the appropriate quote is, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain—the Great Wizard of Oz has thundered his advice.”‘”

October 7, 2015
Should bidding data in power markets be available and transparent, or secret?

Electricity Daily

“‘Transparency is a necessary component of competitive markets,’ McCullough argues. ‘New York has traditionally been an outlier among administered electric markets. Although bizarre and inexplicable bids — those where prices per MWh wildly exceed any conceivable level of marginal cost — occur in most administered markets, New York has had an unusually high share of such aberrations.'”

September 8, 2015
How governments enable companies to distort prices

Al Jazeera, David Cay Johnston

“McCullough observed that ‘the secret filings required to keep secret the secret bids were not secret, since they were available on Google and, after all, the bids themselves could be decoded by a barely competent ten year old.’ He then mused about whether the state would soon be ’rounding up all of the barely competent ten year olds in New York’ to keep secret the non-secrets of electric power plant heat rates.”

September 2, 2015
New York’s electricity market is a scam

Al Jazeera, David Cay Johnston

“McCullough devoted six pages to examples of what Potkin told regulators must be kept secret but that Entergy publishes in various places. McCullough then went on for page after page showing how other companies making similar claims either publish the data or how ‘any reasonably competent analyst’ can distill the facts from a host of published reports.”

August 14, 2015
Keller Rohrback Investigates Alleged Price-Fixing by Chevron, Exxon, BP, and Other Major Oil Refiners on the West Coast

Business Wire

“McCullough Research found that sudden price shifts have created a ‘windfall’ for West Coast refineries.”

August 6, 2015
PUC hit with fresh criticisms over dealings with Edison

Los Angeles Times, Ivan Penn

“Robert McCullough, an energy industry consultant who analyzed Peevey’s emails with PG&E executives and others, said shortly after the messages were publicly released that ‘Peevey has passed beyond’ improper contacts with PG&E.”

July 27, 2015
Illinois Attorney General Joins Call for Changes to MISO Auction Rules

RTO Insider, Chris O’Malley

“Citing FERC’s Electric Quarterly Reports, consultant Robert McCullough, a witness for the state, said that prices of the few bilateral sales from MISO to PJM were low — with one at only $1.09/MW-day.”

July 27, 2015
BCGEU stands with First Nations to oppose Site C dam

National Union of Public and General Employees

“Robert McCullough reports that the dam would cost twice as much as alternative energy options like renewables and natural gas generation.”

July 13, 2015
Gasoline Prices Surge in California, Retreat in Rest of the Country

AllGov, Ken Broder

“A lawsuit cites a spike in 2012 when supply was high, demand was low and inventories were increasing, yet the price of gasoline still rose. McCullough Research likens the suspicious market behavior to a similar oil bubble in 2008.”

June 18, 2015
Voice of BC Interview with Robert McCullough and Rob Botterell
Voice of BC

“Our ability to forecast the costs of these mega-projects has always been poor. These are hard projects to predict. Almost every one of them has had a cost overrun in the past. But the delay issue is pretty simple. Natural gas got so cheap that the price along the entire West Coast is now down to approximately $30/MW-h. That’s almost a third of the cost of Site C. If you change some of the assumptions – bring them up to date – it’s an even smaller fraction. What that means is that bringing Site C into play now means we’re going to be selling $80-90/MW-h power for $30. It’s very hard to make a profit like that.”


June 3, 2015
Rigged electricity market strikes Illinois

Al Jazeera, David Cay Johnston

“A pivotal supplier is effectively equivalent to a monopolist,” McCullough writes. “Since the market cannot clear without its participation, it can set whatever price it chooses.”

May 27, 2015
James: Site C concerns intertwine with other issues

North Shore News, Elizabeth James

“Speaking at a recent Peace Valley Landowner Association event, respected energy economist Robert McCullough summarized his report on the dam: ‘Using BC Hydro’s assumptions, the difference in cost between the least expensive option and Site C is minimized,’ he said. ‘Using industry standard assumptions, Site C is more than three times as costly as the least expensive option.'”

May 27, 2015
‘Fatal flaws’ in business case for Site C, says landowners association

Alaska Highway News, Mike Carter

“McCullough pointed to several “fatal flaws” which show BC Hydro’s business case for the dam was skewed to favour Site C over alternatives. Delaying construction by at least two years would also save ratepayers $200 million, the report claims.”

May 26, 2015
Power from Site C dam ‘dramatically’ more costly than thought: expert

The Globe and Mail, Justine Hunter

“Mr. McCullough, in his report, said it appears the Crown corporation BC Hydro had its thumbs on the scale to make its mega project look better than the private-sector alternatives…McCullough, a leading expert on power utilities in the Pacific Northwest, also disputes the rate that BC Hydro used to compare the long-term borrowing cost of capital for Site C against other projects, noting that other major utilities in North America use higher rates for such projects because they are considered risky investments.”

May 26, 2015
Economist challenges business case for Site C dam

The Vancouver Sun, Gerry Bellett

“Robert McCullough, who was commissioned by the association to study the Site C business case, challenged cost assumptions being used as a basis for the decision to build the dam. There is evidence suggesting that “BC Hydro’s choice of a discount rate may have differed from their usual practice,” he said Tuesday in Vancouver.”

May 26, 2015
Damning report for Site C dam

Business in Vancouver, Nelson Bennett

“McCullough’s report on Site C blows holes in some of the fundamental assumptions BC Hydro, the B.C. government and a joint review panel worked from to conclude that Site C dam is the cost effective means of generating power in B.C.”

May 26, 2015
PVLA says Hydro should delay the Site C project by two years, Tania Finch

“‘Using BC Hydro’s assumptions,’ said McCullough in his report, ‘the difference in cost between the least expensive option and Site C is minimized. Using industry standard assumptions, Site C is more than three times as costly as the least expensive option.'”

April 27, 2015
Portland economist says region’s last nuke losing $250 million on fuel deal

Willamette Week, Nigel Jaquiss

“McCullough, a former Portland General Electric executive who consults for utilities and other clients all over North America, examined the economics of the plant, rather than safety issues. He found that the aging nuke plant is less cost-effective than other forms of generation. He was particularly critical of the long-term fuel purchase the utility made, based in part on what he found were unrealistic assumptions about financing costs.”

April 22, 2015
Drinks, dinners, favors helped PG&E lobbyist build PUC ties, emails show

Los Angeles Times, Marc Lifsher

“Cherry was exceedingly effective, said Robert McCullough, a Portland, Ore.,energy consultant and expert witness in the Enron Corp. scandal investigation in 2001. ‘He was a hell of a salesman,’ McCullough said.”

April 8, 2015
Shell-BG deal could fuel more oil and gas industry consolidation

Los Angeles Times, Tiffany Hsu

“‘These larger and larger dinosaurs are combining so they have more market power and a better chance at controlling price and output,’ said Robert McCullough Jr., managing partner at Oregon energy consulting firm McCullough Research. […] ‘In the short run, we don’t see this as a problem,’ McCullough said. ‘But bigger doesn’t seem to be better — market concentration is not our friend.'”

March 31, 2015
Why gas prices in California are so much higher than elsewhere in U.S.

Los Angeles Times, Tiffany Hsu

“‘It is cost effective for companies in very concentrated industries to allow one to set the price and have everyone else follow along,’ said Robert McCullough Jr., managing partner at the firm. ‘It’s not necessarily unethical. It’s not even illegal. It’s just inefficient and not good for the U.S. economy.'”

March 3, 2015
Oregon Gas Prices: Why have they jumped 70 cents a gallon in a month?

The Oregonian, Joseph Rose

“Even as gas prices collapsed late last year, they didn’t drop as far as they probably should have in the Northwest, McCullough said. He said he is still analyzing price and revenue trends to look at whether refinery operators have been manipulating prices to increase profits.”

February 27, 2015
Emails show PG&E helped PUC official write safety directive

Los Angeles Times, Marc Lifsher

“Energy consultant Robert McCullough, who has analyzed thousands of emails that PG&E gave the commission, said he was put off by the continuous banter among PUC and utility officials. The emails show an “unacceptable level of influence” by PG&E with regulators, he said.”

February 27, 2015
Financiers and power producers rig electricity markets

Al Jazeera, David Cay Johnston

“Robert McCullough, an Oregon utility economist known for busting industry myths, says gaming of electricity markets is easy and lucrative, as long as regulators look the other way. […] ‘Clearly, the story is that you could not buy the other New England power plants unless you committed to Brayton Point’s closure,’ he explained. ‘This is part of the nudge, nudge, wink, wink of mergers and acquisitions’.”

February 3, 2015
PUC emails appear to show former chief Michael Peevey overstepping his role

Los Angeles Times, Marc Lifsher

“The bottom line is that I am amazed,” said Robert McCullough, an energy industry consultant and a former longtime manager at Portland General Electric in Oregon, who has analyzed thousands of the emails. “Peevey has passed beyond” improper contacts with PG&E, McCullough said, and took on a “role where he was commenting and recommending promotions at PG&E.”


August 12, 2014
Assemblyman fights generator owners for disclosure

Capital New York, David Giambusso

“He cited a report commissioned by his predecessor on the committee, then-Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, which alleged in 2009 that power generators overcharged customers by $2.2 billion. The report was prepared by energy expert Robert McCullough.”

June 11, 2014
Murmurs: We Hate Coal. We Love Coal. (We Can’t Decide.)

Willamette Week, Editorial Staff

“Portland energy economist Robert McCullough, who panned the fuel deal, says the GAO [U.S. Government Accountability Office] report vindicates his findings. ‘The takeaway is the GAO says the transactions were illegal and resulted in ratepayers paying far too much for fuel they didn’t need,’ McCullough says.”

June 9, 2014
Report says DOE lacked authority to give Energy Northwest depleted uranium

Tri-City Herald, Annette Cary

“McCullough Research, a Portland energy consulting firm, has questioned whether Energy Northwest used an unusually low discount rate, one lower than inflation, to value its payments from the Tennessee Valley Authority. Robert McCullough has said that Energy Northwest paid more than the market price for the uranium and that the price has since fallen.”

June 4, 2014
Coal-Line Stand

Willamette Week, Nigel Jaquiss

“‘It will decrease the price of U.S. coal even further,’ says Portland energy economist Robert McCullough. ‘We feel good because we are closing coal plants here, but the same coal may end up in a Third World country where the plants are inefficient and poorly run.’”

June 3, 2014
With carbon rule, Illinois power struggle begins

Chicago Tribune, Julie Wernau

“Robert McCullough, managing partner at McCullough Research in Portland, Ore., said a carbon rule won’t solve all of Exelon’s problems.

‘The downward pressure on prices comes from inexpensive natural gas and zero marginal cost renewables,’ McCullough said.”

April 30, 2014
WHOOPS! Nuke Presentations on Tap as Power Council Comes to Boise

Snake River Alliance, Ken Miller

“McCullough’s report for Physicians for Social Responsibility portrays the Columbia Generating Station as an economic disaster. According to its analysis, the Bonneville Power Administration paid $419 million to run the plant in 2013, while it could have secured the same amount of energy elsewhere for about $219 million. The difference of $200 million-plus could have reduced BPA rates by more than 10 percent, McCullough’s report notes.”

April 26, 2014
Public records request no longer budget buster for Energy Northwest

Tri-City Herald, Annette Cary

“Collaboration between Energy Northwest and McCullough Research has narrowed the Portland company’s potentially budget-busting public records request.

McCullough Research officials said they were not aware of estimated cost for processing the records until contacted by the Herald after a March meeting of the Energy Northwest Executive Board.

An initial electronics records search showed as many as 155,000 documents, including drafts and emails, that touched on the Paducah deal.

But McCullough Research agreed this month that only documents in the first five months of 2012 were needed, and only those that involved eight key people. The search also was narrowed to documents that included key words such as ‘Paducah’ and ‘uranium tails.'”

April 21, 2014
Nuclear debate on Clark Public Utilities agenda: Economist’s study finds power plant is a waste of money
The Columbian, Aaron Corvin

“The Columbia facility, in operation since 1984, costs Northwest ratepayers on average as much as an extra $50 per year, according to McCullough’s study. The study concludes that the plant should be replaced with purchases of cheaper market alternatives, which McCullough estimates would save ratepayers $1.7 billion over the next 17 years. The facility is ‘significantly’ costlier than other nuclear plants, the study says, in part, because it’s an older, stand-alone plant.”

April 7, 2014
Energy consultancy identifies likely victims of Barclays’ alleged market manipulation
Platts Inside FERC, Bobby McMahon

“Barclays Bank’s alleged market manipulation in the West from 2006 to 2008 likely injured a host of power entities in the region, according to an analysis by the energy consultancy McCullough Research. In an analysis released late last month, the firm reviewed data from the period in question along with FERC’s order finding that the bank and four of its former traders allegedly manipulated electricity prices in California.”

February 14, 2014
Why Not Do a Market Test of Columbia Generating Station?
Clearing Up, Jude Noland

“‘One might argue the Kalama Energy Center numbers are too low, McCullough said; but even those costs were too high for that project to be viable, as the market was even lower. “It’s very hard to beat the current market, which is the issue that is really the central theme of the PSR report,” he said. “We’ve had five years of market prices lower than the price of power at CGS; let’s see if there’s a better deal out there than operating the plant.'”

February 13, 2014
Nuclear fuel deal has Northwest ratepayers speculating in a risky commodity
The Oregonian, Ted Sickinger

“‘McCullough, for one, insists this is no deal at all for customers of the Bonneville Power Administration, who buy the plant’s output and financially backstopped the fuel purchase. He says it didn’t come through the normal channels, it doesn’t fit Energy Northwest’s typical fueling plans and it didn’t receive adequate vetting for a project of its size. At its most basic level, he says, its commodity speculation.'”

January 30, 2014
BPA: Elliot Mainzer officially named administrator; looks to firm up leadership team
Oregonlive, Ted Sickinger

“‘On all the searches we did, he was not involved in the California trading activity or the Canadian activity,’ said Robert McCullough, managing partner of McCullough Research, which helped numerous public and private clients unwind Enron’s accounting, decipher tapes and document trading after Enron’s collapse. ‘He has a clean bill of health in terms of the 10 million Enron documents we have in our files.'”

January 27, 2014
Newsweek Says Washington Nuke Plant Overpaid for Fuel
Willamette Week, Nigel Jaquiss

“The problem, according to the article’s author, Pulitzer-prize winner David Cay Johnston, is Energy Northwest didn’t need the fuel for its Richland, Wash. plant, and and paid at least a quarter of a billion too much.”

January 23, 2014
Kentucky-Fried Politics
Newsweek, David Cay Johnston

“The true (and mostly hidden) costs of this deal – and how it deftly siphoned many millions from the Pacific Northwest to Kentucky – became known only after an independent economist in Portland, Ore., dug through the official files and contracts and wrote a 212-page report in December.”

January 15, 2014
Oregon Economist Challenges Analysis Keeping NW’s Only Nuclear Plant Alive
Electricity Policy, Kennedy Maize

“The Energy Northwest comparison of the existing nuclear plant with new gas generation is also skewed by market purchase assumptions, says McCullough. The utility paper based its cost conclusions on closing the nuke ‘midway through a refueling cycle and then purchasing its full output at $32/MWh until the new power plant is ready, whether or not the energy was needed.’ McCullough comments, ‘Put colloquially, closing the plant earlier than the next fueling cycle is like throwing out the food already in your refrigerator because you don’t like the advertised prices at the grocery store.’”

Return to Top


December 27, 2013
New Energy Struggles on Its Way to Markets
New York Times, Matthew L. Wald

“Output from the two has sometimes forced the Columbia Generating Station in Washington State, the region’s only surviving nuclear reactor, to cut back its production. One recent study found that shutting down the reactor would save consumers $1.7 billion, partly because it cannot run full time, and partly because its costs are higher than some other technologies.”

December 18, 2013
The Not-So-Green Machine
Willamette Week, Nigel Jaquiss

“The report’s author, Robert McCullough, says mining and processing Energy Northwest’s uranium fuel produces enormous amounts of greenhouse gases. ‘Energy Northwest has frequently claimed the Columbia Generating Station is carbon-free,’ he says. ‘That’s not true.'”

December 11, 2013
Costly To The Core
Willamette Week, Nigel Jaquiss

“McCullough says we could replace the plant with cheaper power and save ratepayers $1.7 billion over the next two decades. ‘The people who are paying for this plant,’ he says, ‘should want it closed.'”

December 10, 2013
Report calls Northwest’s lone nuclear plant a money drain
Portland Tribune, Steve Law

“Closing the Northwest’s lone nuclear power plant could save taxpayers $1.7 billion over the next 17 years, according to a new report commissioned by the Oregon and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. “

July 23, 2013
Ban JPMorgan from California’s electricity trading business
Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik

“The biggest problem in California, McCullough says, is that power bidding in the state is done in secret — unlike other states where bids and offers are made in public. That allows for more manipulation and may help explain why wholesale power prices in California tend to be higher than in surrounding states.”

June 6, 2013
Feds back California on JPMorgan energy trades
Sacramento Bee, Dale Kasler

“Robert McCullough, an energy consultant in Portland, Ore., said the firm was ‘manipulating the fine print to get the results they wanted.'”

May 19, 2013
Enron no lesson to traders as EU probes oil-price manipulation
Bloomberg News, Ben Moshinsky, Lynn Doan and Jim Brunsden

“‘We’re making exactly the same mistakes we did with Enron, just with a different commodity,’ Robert McCullough, an energy consultant, said by telephone from Portland, Oregon. ‘The same manipulation we saw in electricity and gas pricing is what we’re seeing in oil.'”

May 16, 2013
Too nice for voter fraud? Some say OR election system vulnerable despite few cases
Northwest Watchdog, Shelby Sebens

“‘This is a very Oregon moment,’ researcher Robert McCullough of the energy consulting firm McCullough Research said. ‘The Pacific Northwest is a very honest area, and so we have little in the way of checks and balances. But luckily, we also have very few villains.'”

April 24, 2013
Studies mull impact of closing nuclear power plant near Richland
Tri-City Herald, Annette Cary

“McCullough, an economist who serves on the committee that oversees Reed College’s small nuclear research reactor in Portland, thought it seemed reasonable when approaced by environmentalists to see if shutting down the Energy Northwest reactor early could produce significant savings.”

April 24, 2013
Northwest physicians group hires economist to evaluate Hanford Nuclear Plant
Wall Street Journal

“The Washington and Oregon chapters of Physicians for Social Responsibility have hired Robert McCullough of McCullough Research to examine the business case for an early retirement of the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power plant”

The market price of regional electricity in the Pacific Northwest has now fallen below the price of operating the plant. Additional article here.

A Northwest physicians group is paying for a full exam of the Columbia Generating Station nuclear power plant. Additional article here.

April 17, 2013
Comments on the Proposed Maritime Link Project
In the Matter of the Maritime Link Act Matter #M05419, Philip Raphals

Critical Review of the Reliability Assessment Prepared for the Régie de l’énergie du Québec, Régie de l’énergie du Québec, R-3416-98, June 7, 2000 (with Robert McCullough).

March 25, 2013
Oil and electricity: A compare-and-contrast tale of two regulators
McClatchy Washington Bureau

“Last year’s West Coast price spikes amid ample supplies added to the urgency in determining whether excessive financial speculation is driving price volatility.”

Return to Top


December 10, 2012
State’s power-plant fight with JPMorgan Chase is a legacy of deregulation mess
Sacramento Bee, Dale Kasler

“‘There’s still a bit of gaming the system,’ said Robert McCullough of McCullough Research in Portland, Oregon. ‘It is better, it’s not good enough.'”

December 6, 2012
Even U.S. senators complain about gas prices
The Oregonian, David Sarasohn

“‘We could not find the outages,’ Robert McCullough said. ‘It doesn’t mean there weren’t any, but the reports weren’t accurate. At the moment, I think they’re pretty suspicious.'”

November 30, 2012
Rachel Maddow Interviews Senator Cantwell
Rachel Maddow, MSNBC

“What we really need now is for the Department of Justice to use their full power and get to the bottom of this.”


November 27, 2012
Senators seek U.S. probe of refineries’ actions in gasoline market
Los Angeles Times, Ronald D. White

“‘Potentially market-making information, misleading reports of shutdowns could create or exacerbate a perceived supply shortage and artificially drive market prices to unjustifiably high levels,’ the letter to Holder says.”

November 27, 2012
Western lawmakers seek probe of refineries
AP, Kevin Freking

“An analysis by McCullough Research indicates that gasoline inventories were either increasing or remaining at historic five-year averages during the highest price spikes.”

November 27, 2012
Senators Ask Justice to Probe California Gasoline Prices
Reuters, Roberta Rampton

“The senators cited a report from independent energy consultant Robert McCullough that said two West Coast refineries continued to operate throughout May despite reports they were shut for maintenance.”

Letter to the Department of Justice here.

Also see the McCullough Research report here.

November 27, 2012
Gas price spikes disguise real problems with California market
Los Angeles Times Times, Michael Hiltzik

“McCullough, whose contention inspired Tuesday’s call by the six senators for a federal investigation, says tighter regulatory oversight of the refinery industry is essential. ‘No specific agency has regulatory authority over oil and gasoline markets,’ he says. ‘No specific agency accumulates data on West Coast markets in sufficient detail to provide a check on the exercise of market power.'”

November 27, 2012
Western senators want refineries probed over high gasoline prices
McClatchy Newspapers, Kevin G. Hall

“West Coast motorists were led to believe that the price spikes were tied to outages and production problems, but McCullough showed that inventories were building at a time when there were news reports, which refiners didn’t dispute at the time, of possible supply shortages. “

November 27, 2012
Gas Prices: Did oil firms manipulate market, senators ask
Press Enterprise, Ben Goad

“The McCullough report found that such manipulation could be easy to coordinate between companies. ‘In highly concentrated industries, the exercise of market power through production reductions or cooperative pricing can require no more than an email or a phone call.'”

November 20, 2012
Fox Business Interview with Robert McCullough
Fox Business

“There have been no holes poked in it yet. We have not had a single substantive response. There’s this question of ‘does a refinery have smoke even if its operating partially?’. We didn’t go on the total. We actually went through a device by device analysis. We identified the specific devices that were down and then compared these with the emissions from these devices. Three of the refineries showed a discrepancy in the Bay Area.”


November 16, 2012
State seeks answers in gas price spikes
San Francisco Chronicle, David R. Baker

“McCullough argued that the state needs refineries to report their planned and unplanned repairs, with that information made readily available to the public. ‘Markets work best in the light,’ McCullough said. ‘For our most critical commodity, we need to make this as open as possible.”

November 15, 2012
California lawmakers weigh moves to ensure gasoline supply
Chicago Tribune, Rory Carroll

“‘This is a black hole in our energy picture,’ he said at a hearing of the state Senate Select Committee on Bay Area Transportation. ‘We know very little about what is happening in those markets.'”

November 14, 2012
Study: West Coast refineries operated during gas price spikes
McClatchy Newspapers, Kevin G. Hall

“‘It certainly does not prove collusion among the principal suppliers, since specific data by refineries is difficult to procure,’ McCullough’s report said. ‘However, the data does suggest the need for an investigation on a refinery-by-refinery level.'”

California gas price spikes not tied to refinery outages. Additional article here.

New research shows that refiners continued to produce gasoline in periods when the public was told the contrary. Additional article here.

November 14, 2012
Study: West Coast refineries operated during gas price spikes
USA Today, Michael Winter

“This means that in California, the nation’s most populous state, seven major players control most of the supply. They are vertically integrated, refining oil into gasoline and getting involved in the retailing of gasoline in the wholesale market. That system, McCullough said in an interview, lends itself to a market concentration that allows producers to subtly coordinate their prices.”

July 30, 2012
Electricity trading probed
The Sacramento Bee, Dale Kasler

“‘These things are hidden eight levels down in the computer programming,’ said Robert McCullough of McCullough Research in Portland. ‘If a computer doesn’t catch you, you’re not caught.'”

July 28, 2012
Steffy: Worst of both worlds likely for Texas power consumers
Houston Chronicle, Loren Steffy

“‘At every stage, they go further and further from competitive markets,’ Robert McCullough, a Portland, Oregon based energy analyst who follows deregulation issues, told me recently.”

July 23, 2012
Steffy: Utility commission forgets the public
Houston Chronicle, Loren Steffy

“‘They’re basically a license to steal,’ said Robert McCullough, a Portland, Oregon based energy analyst who follows deregulation issues. ‘They essentially give advanced permission for market behavior that under any other conditions would be outrageous.'”

July 18, 2012
Manipulation of California energy market gives consumers a jolt
Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik

“‘There’s nothing really new under the sun,’ says Robert McCullough, a Portland, Ore., energy expert who reviewed the ISO complaint at my request. ‘But it’s a cost you’re paying in your monthly bill.'”

June 13, 2012
What’s really behind high gas prices?
Oregon Business, Robin Doussard

“Consumers and businesses have all been severely impacted by the high gas prices. It might not be surprising that the reason could be pure greed, but it sure makes the blood boil. Oregon’s economic recovery is slow going and this adds insult to injury.”

June 13, 2012
Think the fix is in on gas prices? New report may back you up
KATU News, Anita Kissée

“McCullough’s new report ‘Analysis of West Coast Gasoline Prices’ released June 5 says oil refineries may have intentionally created a supply shortage this spring just to charge Northwest drivers inflated prices, and they reportedly made almost $50 million a day because of it.”

June 12, 2012
Oregon, Washington gas prices continue to fall as report raises suspicions of market rigging
The Oregonian, Joseph Rose

“Robert McCullough, the Portland analyst who helped topple Enron over predatory electricity trading a decade ago, has issued a report arguing that gasoline prices should have never reached this spring’s dizzying, budget-draining heights.”

June 11, 2012
Washington Senator Wants Answers On High Gas Prices
Boise State Public Radio, Scott Graf and Kate Elston

“‘When that happens in the real world, we’d be pretty suspicious,’ McCullough says. ‘A local hardware store has a fire and the other hardware stores close and you have to pay $100 to buy a hammer, you’d be calling the local district attorney to look into it.'”

June 8, 2012
Investigation launched into high West Coast gas prices
Dan Kerman, KRON4News


“The key question is this: Did a handful of West Coast oil refineries work together to reduce production to cause a spike in gas prices on the West Coast?”

June 8, 2012
High gas prices in the Northwest
Reggie Aqui, KGW News


“We do not have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the beat. There is no cop on this beat. We have to rely on our elected officials to ask the Federal Trade Commission to start requesting those materials”

June 7, 2012
High Gas Prices Bring Call for Investigation
McClatchy Newspapers, Kevin G. Hall

“The McCullough Research report, published Tuesday, questioned whether the historically low gasoline inventories on the West Coast were really a result of a fire Feb. 17 that idled the BP plant for about three months.”

Senator questions why refineries cut production. Additional article here.

Senator seeks probe into high West Coast gas prices. Additional article here.

Also see the McCullough Research report here.

Also see US Senator Maria Cantwell’s letter to the FTC here.

Also see US Senator Maria Cantwell’s press release here.

May 21, 2012
Keeping the Lights on in Texas: Will big profits spur new power plants?
State Impact, Dave Fehling

“‘Texas is the only state in the U.S. that has this curious system,’ said Robert McCullough, of McCullough Research in Portland, Oregon. ‘Not only are we creating an incentive not to build new plants, we’re creating an incentive that might lead some traders to create artificial shortages. Now, that sounds like a conspiracy theory and it is a bit, but it’s not as if it’s a conspiracy theory that we haven’t seen before.'”

Return to Top


May 20, 2011
In depth: Where next for Cape Wind as loan guarantee is frozen?
Recharge, Richard A Kessler

“Analyst Robert McCulloch argues that the DOE decision is a serious setback for Cape Wind. ‘I’m glad I’m not on their side of the table with Wall Street. They still have to finance this and it is not what you would call an easy sell.'”

March 29, 2011
Expert: SNG plant raw deal for ratepayers
The Bloomington Alternative

“Robert McCullough’s testimony revealed a complicated ‘derivative’ scheme based on the price of various commodities over time. Customers are not paying for service, or a natural gas substitute, but instead are paying for a financial hedge to cover the losses and share in the profits, if any, that the plant’s owners might make. McCullough’s testimony shows that if the contract were in place today, it could lead to a loss to ratepayers of as much as $500 million.”

February 15, 2011
Texas grid operator faces questions over blackouts
The Texas Tribune, Kate Galbraith

“A report prepared for AARP in 2009 notes that the Australian market requires disclosure of power plant failures and other related information after two days. Robert McCullough, who heads an Oregon-based research firm that prepared the report, said that, in addition, ‘Texas does not make very detailed trading data available on the web as all other U.S. states do.'”

“Transparency in ERCOT: A No-cost Strategy to Reduce Electricity Prices in Texas,” the May 5, 2009 report by McCullough Research, can be found here.

January 27, 2011
President Obama sings Deval Patrick’s tune
The Boston Herald, Jay Fitzgerald

“Robert McCullough, an Oregon energy analyst, expressed doubt whether the nation, or Massachusetts, can create many jobs by investing public money in clean-energy companies. ‘It’s not a question of vision, but it’s a question of implementation,’ said McCullough, saying government has a bad track record of ‘backing failures.'”

January 17, 2011
The messed-up wholesale electricity market
The Baltimore Sun, Jay Hancock

“I guess it’s hard to blame the generation companies. Why should they build new capacity when it would mess up the present system in which they get paid for merely existing? But it demonstrates a highly flawed wholesale system — I won’t call it a wholesale market because, as Robert McCullough keeps pointing out to me, real markets don’t require 400 PJM bureaucrats to set the rules.”

January 2, 2011
Feds wind plan may zap Massachusetts
The Boston Herald, Jay Fitzgerald

“‘It’s very expensive news for New Englanders,’ Robert McCullough, an energy analyst in Oregon, said of the announcement last week that the federal government is looking to lease deep-ocean waters for up to 4,000 megawatts of additional offshore wind development.”

Return to Top


November 23, 2010
Last big hurdle passed for Cape Wind
The Boston Globe, Beth Daley

“The state Department of Public Utilities gave permission yesterday for National Grid to purchase half of Cape Wind’s power, removing the last significant hurdle for construction to begin on the controversial wind farm in Nantucket Sound next year. The agency, however, refused to approve a second agreement for the sale of the project’s remaining power. …’Every time they get one of these halfway results, it reduces their ability to finance,’ said Robert McCullough, an Oregon-based energy consultant who is not involved in the Cape Wind project but worked for opponents of a proposed wind farm off Block Island.”

Also see’s The Green Blog post here.

October 24, 2010
Obscure electricity charge enriches power sellers
The Baltimore Sun, Jay Hancock

“A few years ago, grid administrators outside Philadelphia changed the rules for selling wholesale electricity in such a way that Maryland consumers will end up paying an extra $5 billion or so for their kilowatts from 2007 to 2014. …The money was supposed to lure those companies and others to build generation plants, thus easing electricity shortages. But the generators haven’t been built. …’It is a joke,’ says Robert McCullough, an economist and energy consultant hired by the Illinois attorney general to analyze similar electricity charges in that state. ‘We can say without any question that it is completely outlandish.'”

October 4, 2010
Cape Wind rates will whack businesses, hospitals, schools
The Boston Herald, Jay Fitzgerald

“[A] review of National Grid’s own estimates of the above-market prices it would pay for Cape Wind power shows that local businesses, nonprofits and other large energy users will be paying far more [than the estimated $1.25 a month increase for residential customers] – in some cases as much tens of thousands of dollars per year. And experts say most of those costs will be passed on to the same consumers who, as rate- and taxpayers, will be paying for the cost of planting the turbines off Nantucket Sound – and footing higher energy bills once the project is running. ‘As they say, there are lies, damned lies and statistics,’ said energy analyst Robert McCullough. ‘This is a very expensive project.'”

August 5, 2010
PUC UPDATE: ‘I don’t know what we’ll decide’
The Block Island Times, by Jane Vercelli and Steve Stycos

“Tuesday’s final witness [at the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission hearing], energy expert Robert McCullough, testified on behalf of seven citizens of Block Island and North Kingstown, including Republican state Rep. Lawrence Ehrhardt, who oppose the project. McCullough said the power purchase agreement was not commercially reasonable because it estimates costs without stating what equipment would be used on the project. ‘We don’t know where the prices are coming from,’ he stated, ‘We don’t even know what the equipment is.'”

August 4, 2010
Deepwater Contract Criticized
The Providence Journal, by Peter B. Lord

“[In written testimony, Robert] McCullough said he found the prices in the [proposed contract governing how National Grid would buy electricity from a wind farm developed by Deepwater Wind off Block Island] are significantly higher than prices for similar projects either under way or recently completed in Europe. ‘The cost figures give the appearance of being reverse-engineered from a required rate of return rather than derived from basic engineering estimates. The rate of return seems high with any reasonable level of leverage, and due diligence by the purchaser was lacking. Finally, the proposed contract’s pricing sections are poorly written and several other sections may contain drafting errors.'”

August 4, 2010
PUC Holds hearing on Deepwater Contract
The Providence Statehouse Exhaminer, by Ryan Drugan

“As state leaders give their support for the Deepwater contract agreement with National Grid, small business and concerned citizens voice their opposition. ‘The cost figure give the appearance of being reverse-engineered from a required rate of return rather than derived from basic engineering estimates,’ stated Robert McCullough an energy consultant from Oregon working on the Block Island wind farm project. McCullough commented that the agreement between Deepwater and National Grid is written poorly, contains numerous errors, and lacks key information regarding maintenance costs and the type of turbines that will be constructed.”

August 2, 2010
New York Attorney General Urges Probe of Electric Costs
Bloomberg BusinessWeek, by Michael Virtanen

Richard Brodsky, candidate for Attorney General for the state of New York, cited a McCullough Research report that analyzed the bidding at the New York Independent System Operator and found that “every day at least one producer submits maximum $1,000 bids, while production costs even with expensive fuels like natural gas are significantly less than $100 an hour.”

“The New York Independent System Operator’s Market-Clearing Price Auction is Too Expensive for New York,” the March 3, 2009 report by McCullough Research, can be found here.

July 13, 2010
Keep Energy In Line
The Hartford Advocate, Robert McCullough’s Letter to the Editor

“Connecticut suffers and Dominion profits from the distorted prices set by the bureaucrats who run the New England Independent System Operator’s wholesale electricity markets. These markets need a thorough [overhaul] – starting with making the bids, bidders, and calculations public – so that effective competition can bring Connecticut’s wholesale power costs in line with those elsewhere in the United States.”

June 22, 2010
The Pros and Cons of Nuclear Power: America is entering a nuclear “renaissance,” but can we afford it?
The Hartford Advocate, by Daniel D’Ambrosio

Although the Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford near New London produces about 55 percent of the electrical power generated in the state, there is little incentive for Connecticut legislators to encourage new nuclear plants. According to Rep. Vicki Nardello, (D-Prospect), “under the rules of the state’s deregulated market Millstone can charge the same for its power as a power plant fueled by natural gas, the most expensive source of power.” An analysis by McCullough Research has shown that Dominion Resources, the Virginia-based company that owns Millstone, “made $440 million in 2009 before taxes, yielding a 57-percent rate of return on investment and a return on equity of 115 percent.”

June 14, 2010
Cape Wind-fall Up on Cards
Stock Watch, by Narendra Jakhad

“Developers in Cape Wind could make massive gains by selling off their rights to the wind farm proposed. …It is said to be a common practice amongst energy companies to arrange for all necessary permits and new power plant financing before turning it over to other investors even as the projects are ready to go. Robert McCullough who is an energy expert at the McCullough Research center in Oregon, feels this is how entrepreneurs work and there is nothing unethical about a rapid turnover in the energy business.”

June 13, 2010
Could be a Cape Wind-fall: Turbine developers sell Texas project after gettin OKs
The Boston Herald, by Jay Fitzgerald

“Cape Wind developers could make big bucks if they sold off the rights to the proposed offshore wind farm, as they did last year when they unloaded a new wood-burning power plant in Texas before construction even began. …A spokesman for the controversial Cape Wind project off the coast of Cape Cod says the developers have every intention of seeing the project through to the end …[b]ut experts say its common practice for energy companies to line up the necessary permits and financing for new power plants and then turn around and sell ready-to-go projects to other investors. “Rapid turnover is the name of the game in the energy business,” said Robert McCullough, an energy expert at McCullough Research in Oregon. “It’s often the smart play. There’s nothing unethical about it. It’s how entrepreneurs work.”

May 18, 2010
Cape Wind’s Plan B? You pay if federal tax credit falls through, electric rates will rise
The Boston Herald, by Jay Fitzgerald

“Tucked in National Grid’s 159-page rate filing is an appendix calling for Cape Wind’s proposed first-year rate to rise from 20.7 cents per kilowatt hour to 22.8 cents – or by 10 percent – if the developer can’t secure a lucrative, investment tax credit. Robert McCullough, an Oregon energy consultant, said the back-up rate hikes are ‘not outlandish’ – and they’re perhaps necessary if Cape Wind is ever to get built.”

May 11, 2010
Higher rates blowing in: Cape Wind contracts could generate $6B tab over 15 years
The Boston Herald, by Jay Fitzgerald

“The controversial Cape Wind project could end up costing ratepayers as much as $6 billion over 15 year – and provide utilities with multimillion-dollar bonus incentives if they buy electricity from the planned off-shore wind farm…’By any standard, this is a very high price for energy,’ said Robert McCullough, president of McCullough Research, an Oregon energy consulting firm.”

May 8, 2010
Cape Wind rate shock: Electricity will cost twice as much as power plants
The Boston Herald, by Jay Fitzgerald

“Cape Wind, which wants to build 130 wind turbines off the coast of Cape Cod, and National Grid announced yesterday that they’ve reached an agreement to start charging customers 20.7 cents per kilowatt hour in 2013 – more than double the current rate of electricity from conventional power plants and land-based wind farms…..’I’m glad it’s your electric bills and not mine,’ said Robert McCullough, president of McCullough Research, an Oregon energy consulting firm, referring to Cape Wind’s prices.”

April 13, 2010
Alliance touts power of few rules
The New Haven Register

“A study…contends that Connecticut has received substantial benefits from the deregulation of its electrical industry in 2000…But according to Robert McCullough, managing partner of McCullough Research of Oregon, “month after month, electric rates continue to increase in Connecticut.”

April 8, 2010
Indian Point is a Cash Cow
Jonathan Fahey,

“It may cost $1 billion to change the way the two nuclear reactors at Indian Point on New York’s Hudson River keep themselves cool in order to satisfy environmental protection regulators. Sounds like a bundle of money, and it is…But don’t shed too many tears for the plants’ owner, Entergy. The plants are cash cows. According to an analysis done by longtime utility consultant and analyst Robert McCullough, in 2009 the two reactors brought in $982 million in sales and $436 million in profit before income taxes.”

April 3, 2010
Power outage questions probed, Onell R. Soto, Union-Tribune Staff Writer

The reasons behind the shut-off of the Otay Mesa plant on April 1st remain unclear. SDG&E and state grid operators are still investigating what happened. “Rules for running an electricity grid call for redundancies — generally the system has to have enough backuppower to be able to take the loss of its biggest power plant or transmission line plus 5 percent, said Robert McCullough, a utility consultant in Portland, Ore.
San Diego has just two connections to the rest of the grid, so managing supply and demand here is easier than elsewhere…’The hypothesis that comes up … is somebody entered the wrong number into the computer,’ he said.”

March 17, 2010
Lawmakers look at energy cost
The New Haven Register, by Luther Turmelle

[T]he operator of the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Waterford–Dominion Energy of Virginia–would be subject to the [windfall profits tax proposed by Connecticut bill HB 5505], according to a report prepared for the Energy and Technology Committee by McCullough Research, a Portland, Ore., consulting firm.

“Dominion’s net pre-tax profit from the Millstone 3 generating unit was $440 million in 2009, which translates into a 57 percent rate of return on the company’s investment and a return on equity of 115 percent, according to the report.”

March 14, 2010
Smart power meters? Well, sure. Someday., by Jay Hancock

‘There are a lot of simple things you can do, and most of them don’t require the installation of a handy-dandy meter,’ says Robert McCullough, a respected energy consultant and gadget geek. He bought and installed a smart meter on his Portland, Ore., office, but for most people, he thinks smart meters are of questionable value.”

February 24, 2010
Smart Power: Climate Change, the Smart Grid, and the Future of Electric Utilities
Island Press, Peter Fox-Penner

McCullough, Robert. “California Electricity Price Spikes: Factual Evidence,” January 15, 2003. McCullough, Robert. Memorandum to McCullough Research Clients, “C66 and the Artificial Congestion of California Transmission in January 2001,” November 29, 2002..

February 14, 2010
Renewable Energy: Sources and Methods
Facts on File, Anne Maczulak

McCullough, Robert. Memo to McCullough Research clients, June 5, 2002. Available online. URL: Accessed December 6, 2008. A very interesting letter written at the time of the western energy crisis to shed light on the unlawful events of that period.

Return to Top


December 2, 2009
U.S. consultant backs whistleblower in Hydro audit
CBC News

Hydro CEO Bob Brennan appeared before a provincial government sub-committee on Nov. 17 and defended the utility against the whistleblower’s claims. He said a report from research consultants ICF International shows her allegations are incorrect…But on Wednesday, CBC News obtained a consultant’s document from Portland, Ore.- based McCullough Research that said the ICF report contains outdated data and was ‘hastily prepared.'”

See also US energy Consultant comes forward to back up Whistleblower, from the Manitoba Post, Wednesday, December 02, 2009

November 8, 2009
The Shocking Truth: One politician stopped electric rate reform
By Paula Panzarella, The New Haven Register

“There were extensive discussions and presentations in the Energy and Technology Committee as to how renewable energy could be developed and encouraged by the state. Many Connecticut municipalities, environmental groups and businesses took part in the hearings, including AARP, which sponsored Robert McCullough, an energy expert from Portland, Ore., to give a presentation to the Energy and Technology Committee about the concrete way a state energy authority could be developed, and how it would lower electric rates.

October 19, 2009
Electricity ‘Rip-Off’ is $hocking
“Without even selling one watt of power, three electricity-generating companies managed to rip off New Yorkers for an untold amount of money, the state’s powergrid operator says in a shocking admission to federal regulators. It’s the latest bigbucks cash grab alleged to have happened right under the nose of the New York Independent System Operator, whose bungles are estimated to have cost consumers hundreds of millions of dollars… The ISO won’t disclose how much money is involved, when the overcharges happened, or the names of the three companies.

September 14, 2009
NYISO seeks changes to energy bidding
“Three upstate power providers may have cost consumers money by artificially inflating auction bids, the nonprofit that operates the state’s power grid has told federal regulators. An independent study released earlier this year alleges that New York’s consumers pay $2 billion a year more than they should for electricity because the state’s auction system is flawed.
The study by Robert McCullough of McCullough Research in Oregon was made public in March by Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, D-Westchester. McCullough is the energy expert who helped uncover Enron Corp.’s energy market manipulation.”

September 11, 2009
3 Generators may have cost consumers
“It turns out that you may have been paying too much for your electricity bill after all. The New York Independent System Operator, the North Greenbush nonprofit that operates the state’s wholesale
electricity market, has told federal regulators that three power plants in upstate New York may have been trying to inflate profits by making artificially high bids.
The NYISO won’t publicly reveal the names of the generators — or just how much they might have cost

June 5, 2009
Report: Deregulation of electricity yields big profits for companies, costs NY ratepayers
“New York’s deregulated electric market allows generation plants to reap massive profits at the expense of taxpayers, according to a report released Friday.
Industry representatives rejected the findings that the state’s top 15 generators received inflated profits.
Assembly corporations committee Chairman Richard Brodsky, a Westchester County Democrat, said the generators have an annual rate of return between 31 and 186 percent. Brodsky released the report with
Robert McCullough, whose firm McCullough Research conducted the study.
“These are unconscionable numbers. No other industry has a profit margin averaging anything near these numbers annually,” Brodsky said.

May 5, 2009
Report Calls for More Transparent Texas Wholesale Market
“The deregulated electricity market in Texas has been a bust for consumers due to a poorly structured wholesale market and a lack of transparency, according to a McCullough Research report prepared for the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
While deregulated market defenders have said high prices in Texas last year were the result of high natural gas prices, the McCullough report said that’s not the case.”

April 22, 2009
McCullough finds bids in RTO markets are often ‘100 times higher than common sense would expect’
“The balancing energy markets run by regional transmission organizations often are plagued by hockey stick bids that can be “a hundred times higher than common sense would expect,” energy consultant Robert McCullough said in a report, Analysis of the Balancing Energy Market. The balancing energy markets frequently set prices in the larger markets at very high levels, he said. At least some non-economic bidding occurs every day in every RTO, he said.”

April 9, 2009
Oil: Just What Happened In 2008?
“While oil is arguably the U.S. economy’s most important commodity, it is ironic that no agency of the U.S. government has been assigned the task of investigating and explaining the extraordinary price changes of last year.”

March 27, 2009
Senate Ponders Legislative Options; FERC Backs Preemptive “Cease and Desist” Authority
“Although we fear that the oil market may have become dominated by speculators, we do not know who they are, or their possible impacts,” explained Robert McCullough. Oil, natural gas and the electricity industry are interconnected with commensurate effects on the entire economy. According to McCullough, the inability of the federal government to fully investigate oil price behavior in 2008 is fundamentally a data problem, and the legislation that Congress is considering “is a step in the right direction,” as it will expand the EIA’s ability to track oil inventories within the U.S. by owner.

March 22, 2009
The Case Against Fowler’s Bonanza
“Besides, McCullough notes, “The outrage you’re seeing, unfortunately, is occurring after the storm is over.” With board and shareholder approval, Fowler has already sailed off with the $4.5 million.”

March 19, 2009
Assemblyman Blasts NYISO Over Rates
“New Yorkers pay some of the highest electric rates in the nation – 45 percent higher than the national average. Critics say there’s something funny with the way electricity is bought and sold.
MCCULLOUGH: If you walked into the local grocery store and you found that a loaf of bread was $1000, you’d have a pretty good sense that something was wrong with that grocery store.”

March 12, 2009
You Are Too Stupid To Understand Electricity Prices Say Utilities CEOs
“The story quotes multiple executives saying electricity pricing is “complicated.” Darn right it is. But because utilities won’t clearly explain what’s happening, perhaps for fear of being exposed, consumers are expected to just accept on face value what’s happening to them. With the coming changes in energy, consumers might not accept higher prices for much longer.

March 10, 2009
Investigate this shocking charge: Is there Enron-style manipulation of N.Y. electric bills?
“Are New Yorkers really being ripped off to the tune of more than $2 billion a year on their electric bills?
Energy expert Robert McCullough thinks so. And he has a track record of sniffing out hanky-panky in the power grid. McCullough, a consultant based in Portland, Ore., was among the first to blow the whistle on the Enron scandal – correctly diagnosing the brazen market manipulation that triggered spikes and brownouts across California in the late 1990s.

March 6, 2009
Assembly Committees Hold Hearing to Discuss NYISO Practices and High Electric Prices
“A joint hearing by the Assembly Committee on Energy and the Committee on Corporations, Authorities, and Commissions was held on March 5th to discuss the practices of the New York Independent System Operator (“NYISO”). The NYISO is a not-for-profit corporation that began operations in 1999, operating New York’s bulk electricity system and administering the wholesale electricity markets. The Assembly Corporations Committee, chaired by Richard Brodsky, held a press conference earlier in the week to release a study conducted by McCullough Research showing that due to the
NYISO’s spot market rules and practices, New Yorkers paid $2.2 billion a year in artificial and unnecessary electricity rates on their electric bills.

March 4, 2009
Assemblyman Blasts NYISO Over Rates
“The 11-page study Brodsky touted was done by McCullough Research, an Oregon energy-consulting firm run by Robert McCullough.”

“…’What you have here is price fixing,’ Brodsky said. ‘Elegant price fixing. Even if there is not collusion, the system is nutty.'”

February 26, 2009
Washington Wind Power Headed to California
“People who believe you can follow the green electron down the line” may bristle at the thought of selling that power out of state, says Robert McCullough, a Portland energy consultant. But in fact, “once you put them on the grid, you can’t tell them apart — a green electron and a brown electron are just figments of our imagination.”

February 25, 2009
Blumenthal Presses for State-Run Power Authority
“The report, prepared for AARP by McCullough Research of Portland, Ore., recommends creating a state power authority modeled after the new Illinois Power Agency.”
“AARP’s report outlines how a Connecticut Power Authority could bring competition and better serve the interests of the state in lowering energy rates for consumers and businesses.”

January 14, 2009
Expert Finds Flaws in Cost-benefit Analysis of ERCOT Market

“A key cost-benefit analysis examining the pending overhaul of the Texas wholesale power market in ERCOT is of questionable accuracy, with a national expert finding errors, unreasonable assumptions, discrepancies and a shortage of economic logic.

Return to Top


December 15, 2008
Rell Can Put Her Own Stamp on DPUC
“With two vacancies on the state Department of Public Utility Control, and the likelihood of a third by the middle of next year, Gov. M. Jodi Rell has an opportunity to remake the regulatory agency in a way that she might find more to her liking.”

“Look for someone with real business experience, someone who is a real-life problem-solver,” said Robert McCullough, managing partner of Portland, Ore.-based McCullough Research, an energy consulting firm. “The best state regulator is someone with a healthy dose of common sense, someone who is straight forward. That common sense is something you need; what you do not need is a career bureaucrat.”

September, 2008
CFTC Staff Report on Commodity Swap Dealers & Index Traders
Page 62: “Robert F. McCullough, Jr., McCullough Research, August 2008 There is a strong possibility that the high level of concentration in the spot and future oil markets have made the market strategies of the principal market participants more significant than fundamentals – at least in the short term.”

September 15, 2008
Cantwell Says She’s Working to ‘Shed Light’ on ‘Dark’ Oil Markets
“‘This is exactly the same pattern Enron’s manipulations showed in 2000 to 2001,’ McCullough said in a statement. ‘The CFTC’s report misses the fundamental issue by restricting their analysis to periods before the July 2008 price spike. When the bandit leaves the bank, the money leaves with him.’
Masters and McCullough are among six witnesses scheduled to testify Tuesday before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, of which Cantwell is a member.” — Christopher Dunagan, Kitsap Sun

September 11, 2008
Are We Screwing in the Wrong Bulbs?
“Unfortunately, the argument is bogus, says Robert McCullough, a former
Portland General Electric executive. That’s because using less electricity
does not mean less coal is burned. Since coal is cheap, power companies
tend to keep their coal-fired plants running day and night; when demand
for electricity ebbs, they cut back on more expensive natural gas, not coal.

August 26, 2008
PSC to rule on Iberdrola request — Democrat and Chronicle
“Once you have the energy and transmission, there are any number of clever things you can do,” said Robert McCullough, managing partner of McCullough Research of Portland, Ore. “The (PSC) staff is
entirely correct.”

July 12 , 2008
Top wholesale power rates leads to jolts
“Robert McCullough… says the energy-only market could tempt manipulation efforts, such as generators withholding power from the grid to narrow the gap between supply and demand and make it more likely a high bid will be accepted.” — Tom Fowler, Houston Chronicle

April 28, 2008
FOX 5 Investigates Power Prices

FOX 5, Washington, DC interviews Robert McCullough about the failures of Maryland’s electricity procurement auction.

April 7, 2008
Connecticut Lawmakers Warned of Power Missteps
“As they grapple with consumer unrest over high electricity rates, Connecticut lawmakers were urged by a consultant to create a state power authority to bring down costs and stabilize the energy sector….. Robert McCullough warned against repeating mistakes made in California as well as in the Northeast.” — Rich Nemec, Power Market Today

March 28, 2008
BGE Settlement Settles Little
“As the governor who promised to stop the BGE rate increase and got hammered for failing, Martin O’Malley surely must be happy to get something back for customers. But he might have gotten more….
‘The price is surprisingly high,’ McCullough Research wrote. — Baltimore Sun, Jay Hancock

March 16, 2008
The Power Drain: The Pinch at Home – Many Residents Stung by High Cost of Utilities
“According to a national analysis by McCullough Research for municipally owned utilities, electricity rates in deregulated states rose almost 40 percent, compared with 19 percent in states that remain regulated.”
— Washington Post, Kirstin Downey

February 24, 2008
Amaranth Lessons: One Year Later
Hilary Till, Research Associate, EDHEC Risk and Asset Management Research Centre; and Principal, Premia Capital Management, LLC

Market participants did not have to wait for the June 2007 Senate report to draw early lessons from the Amaranth crisis. Soon after the debacle, several authors, including Till (2006), McCullough (2006), Petzel (2006), and Chincarini (2007), were able to infer the types and magnitudes of the fund’s positions. Participants were able to do so from examining dislocations in the natural-gas futures curve.

February 21, 2008
Societe Generale Trader posts record loss on trading scandal, subprime exposure
International Herald Tribune, Nicola Clark

Kerviel “was routinely taking huge positions for an arbitrageur, even when you count in his fictitious positions,” said Robert McCullough, a consultant based Portland, Oregon, with expertise in analyzing fraudulent trading at Enron and other companies. Noting that Kerviel’s reported positions yielded a virtual gain of €1.5 billion in mid-June, McCullough said: “This should have rung every bell in the place.”

January 10, 2008
New Study on Missing Benchmark
“The gap between electricity rates in regional transmission states and non-RTO states is widening and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission needs to reinstate a missing benchmark to analyze the problem, says a new study… by Robert McCullough and Ann Stewart of McCullough Research. “
— APPA Public Power Daily

Return to Top


October 14, 2007
Is energy fox minding the henhouse?
“This month, after revealing that electricity rates could surge 35 percent for residents and up to 43 percent for businesses in 2010, PPL Corp. shrugged off responsibility for the looming hike, saying it does not set prices — the marketplace does. But the energy industry plays a critical role in policing the power market, which means the fairness of prices depends on the industry’s integrity and good faith….At the same time, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission examines some, but no longer all, wholesale electricity rates to ensure they are ‘just and reasonable.’… Experts, however, have put forth a number of reasons why the power market might result in inflated prices…. ‘The secrecy in itself is a big part of the problem,’ said Robert McCullough, an electricity consultant who advised the Illinois attorney general. ‘Anytime you do things in a back room, you have created incredible potential for abuse.'”
— Morning Call, Sam Kennedy

August 8, 2007
Let’s see why grid watchdog barked
Here in Central Maryland we just got a 72 percent electric-price pop. We want as clear a view of our deregulated electricity market as Californians got of theirs after the Enron debacle, and this case looks like it’ll help. PJM is the nonprofit Pennsylvania company that supervises the grid and runs the wholesale electricity market from New Jersey to North Carolina. Maryland and other states have sought redress with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over claims by PJM market monitor Joseph Bowring that his bosses silenced him when he wanted to report price irregularities and outsized profits at generation companies. They want Bowring’s operation made independent. PJM’s apparently panicked offer to settle, disclosed Thursday, suggests that some very interesting evidence will surface if the case is pursued …. A lot of people would actually like to see the full set of information” at PJM, says Robert McCullough, an energy consultant who was deeply involved in the Enron case out West. “If we’re going to live with this institution the rest of our lives, it’s pretty important that we understand what’s going on with it.” — Baltimore Sun, Jay Hancock

June 26, 2007
Ex-Enron Customers Win One in Court
“Snohomish County Public Utility District prevailed against Enron — again — last week when an administrative law judge ordered the bankrupt energy giant to disgorge $1.6 billion in illegal profits made from customers of West Coast utilities.
Judge Carmen Cintron also ruled that $157 million in contract termination payments Enron was seeking from Snohomish were ‘unjust profits ‘…. Robert McCullough, a Portland energy consultant who has spent much of the past four years working on Enron-related cases, provided one of two accounting estimates of Enron’s energy trading profits used by the judge to reach her $1.6 billion decision. McCullough said that most of
that money came from Northwest consumers and that PGE’s customers could be due a sizable refund. PGE was wholly owned by Enron until April 2006. It has never filed a claim on behalf of its ratepayers.” — Oregonian, Ted Slicking

April 17, 2007
Rebuilt PSC begins hearings to probe electricity-rate rise
“A reconstituted state utility commission launches today its first investigation of the electric rate increase that stunned utility customers last year and led to the appointment of several new panel members. . . The initiative lumps Maryland with a handful of states stretching from Delaware to Montana that are scrutinizing deregulated energy markets amid a consumer backlash against rising energy costs. . . .
The state of Illinois blamed flaws in a similar energy auction for soaring energy process among that state’s utilities. The Illinois attorney general filed a complaint last month with federal regulators, asking them to investigate allegations of price gouging among wholesale supplies. The complaint contains testimony from Robert McCullough, an energy consultant who said winning bids were 40 percent higher than prices available in the broader market at the time the Illinois auction was conducted.” — Baltimore Sun, Paul Adams

March 16, 2007
Madigan Blows Whistle
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Thursday alleged there is evidence of bid-fixing and collusion behind the state’s skyrocketing electric rates, and she formally asked a federal regulatory agency to reverse those rates and investigate the power suppliers of two major utilities. In a 31-page complaint filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Madigan lays out what she says is evidence that last year’s power auction involving Ameren and ComEd might have been fixed to ensure that specific wholesale suppliers – including the parent companies of both utilities – got the most lucrative parts of that business. . . . Madigan’s office said it worked with a team of experts in compiling the complaint, including Robert McCullough, an expert on electricity trading practices who was involved in the federal investigation into Enron’s activities in Western electric markets.” — St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kevin McDermott

March 15, 2007
Press Release: Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan Alleges Price Manipulation in 2006 Electricity Auction
Five million Illinois residents are unnecessarily paying electricity prices that are double the actual cost of generating electricity and 40 percent higher than electricity prices in the wholesale electricity markets,’ said Madigan. ‘We undertook an extensive investigation to find out why the prices produced by the auction were so high. This complaint follows that lengthy investigation of bidding patterns in the auction.’ . . . The analysis prepared by Robert McCullough concludes that the high prices produced by the auction are largely due to a lack of competition in Illinois electricity markets — which U.S. Department of Justice guidelines classify as ‘highly concentrated.’ He also uncovered evidence that electricity suppliers engaged in market manipulation – driving prices even higher.” — Office of Lisa Madigan, Robyn Ziegler

Return to Top


September 27, 2006
Report Says Amaranth Trader May Have Attempted to Corner Market
The article quotes Robert McCullough saying he believes Amaranth attempted to corner the natural gas market and that the “lack of federal oversight” of energy markets and hedge funds by FERC, the CFTC and the SEC, and the CFTC is partially responsible. — NGI’s Daily Gas Price Index

July 11, 2006
Consultant Challenges Economists Over State of Competition
Robert McCullough challenges several economists whose open letter urges policy makers to ‘stay the course’ on the electric competition. — NGI’s Power Market Today

June 30, 2006
Economists Express ‘Deep Concern’ over Wholesale Electricity Prices
Economists Urge Policymakers to “Stay the Course” on Electricity Competition
COMPLETE Letter to Secretary Salas which includes Open Letter toPolicymakers
McCullough Research Responds to June 26, 2006 Open Letter to Policymakers

May 25, 2006
FERC Lawyer Denies Part in Enron Trades; She says she did not advise on questionable strategies while working for the energy firm
“A former Enron Corp. lawyer who last month went to work for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday vigorously denied involvement with the company’s questionable trading tactics, after two senators raised questions about her hiring. . . More broadly, however, [Robert McCullough States] ‘the question is not whether Mary Hain should be indicted,’ he said Wednesday. ‘The question is whether it’s appropriate for a federal regulatory agency to hire a lawyer who had such an intimate role with all these people who we know were committing these frauds.’ ” — Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Peterson

May 22, 2006
Gas Price Gouging evidence discovered; Sen. Cantwell Says FTC Report Leaves Many Questions Unanswered
“Following Monday morning’s release of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report on post-Katrina gasoline price manipulation, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) renewed calls for increased oil industry transparency and swift approval of her legislation to enact a tough federal ban on gas price gouging. . . In addition to evidence outlined in the FTC report, a recent report by Portland-based energy consultant Robert McCullough found oil and gas market anomalies consistent with a practice known as “wash trading,” where simultaneous transactions are executed in order to deliberately inflate volumes and revenues. This tactic was used by the unregulated Enron subsidiary, EnronOnline, to manipulate energy commodity markets.”– U.S. Federal News

May 9, 2006
Markets vulnerable to manipulation – Testimony
Robert McCullough testifies at a Democratic Policy Committee hearing that “regulating only a few electronic trading platforms is similar to allowing some travelers to skip security checks. . . . Everyone becomes less secure if obvious shortcuts around regulation exist.'” –Megawatt Daily

May 8, 2006
U.S. Senate Dems Seek Greater Energy Trading Oversight
“At a Democratic Policy Committee hearing on energy trading, lawmakers said skyrocketing energy prices are reminiscent of the soaring electricity prices consumers saw in the West during the 2000-01 energy crisis – a time of high power prices, rolling blackouts, and manipulation by Enron Corp.(ENE).” Robert McCullough suggests, “Congress give the CFTC authority to make sure that electronic trading platforms are registered and regulated.” — Dow Jones International News, Maya Jackson Randall

May 8, 2006
Senator Cantwell Hearing on Energy Market Transparency Exposes Anomalies in Oil and Gas Prices
A press release from the office of Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) says, “A new report from McCullough released at the hearing announced that oil and gas market anomalies exist that are consistent with a practice known as ‘wash trading’ where simultaneous transactions are executed in order to deliberately inflate volumes and revenues. This tactic was used by the unregulated Enron subsidiary, EnronOnline, to manipulate energy commodity markets.” — United States Federal News

May 8, 2006
Congress Learns That Enron-Like Market Fraud Still Exists; McCullough Research Uncovers More Enron Trading Schemes
“McCullough Research will tell a Democratic Policy Committee oversight hearing today that U.S. gas and electricity trading is still vulnerable to the market schemes employed by Enron Corporation during California’s 2000-2001 energy crisis. ‘Widespread opportunities for fraud and manipulation exist today, even though most experts claim California’s crisis ended years ago,’ says Robert McCullough, manager of McCullough Research.” — Business Wire

May 1, 2006
Energy Crisis Case may set New Rules: Defining Criminal Conduct is at Stake
The article quotes Robert McCullough saying, “‘I am not sure it is even possible to identify [trading] loopholes beforehand, let alone plug them,’ he said. “Simply put, would you shop at a supermarket where only insiders can check the receipts?'” — The National Law Journal, Pamela MacLean

April 19, 2006
Kelliher Questioned About FERC’s Rehiring of Ex-Enron Attorney and the Agency’s Recusal and Internal Communication Policies
“The Los Angeles Times reported on Hain’s hiring in its April 8 edition. ‘Hain’s ‘apparent indifference to corruption seems like a very poor qualification as a regulator,’ Robert McCullough, a former Portland General Electric executive and energy consultant told the Times.'” — Foster Electric Report

April 17, 2006
FERC staff defends Enron settlement offer against criticism from Snohomish
and others

“Federal Energy Regulatory Commission trial staff defended itself last week against harsh criticism leveled at the proposed settlement it reached with Enron on compensation Enron should offer to two utilities for market manipulation. FERC trial staff and Enron on March 10 filed offers of settlement to be made by Enron to the Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Washington, and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. . . . The proposed settlement from Enron and FERC trial staff would allocate up to $10 million in Class 6 unsecured claims to ‘non-settling participants,’ as FERC put it. But that probably would amount to no more than $2.29 million, said Snohomish and Met Water. They reinforced the point with an affidavit from consultant Robert McCullough. ‘According to Enron’s current bankruptcy plan, the Class 6 unsecured claims will be paid out at the rate of 22.9 cents per dollar. This means the $10 million in unsecured claims obtained by trial staff … is worth $2,290,000,’ said McCullough, who has worked for several years with Northwest utility clients.” — Platts Power Markets Week

April 16, 2006
Ex-Enron lawyer lands in federal energy post; Hiring draws fire; scope of her role at failed firm debated
“At the peak of the California energy crisis, Mary C. Hain was a lawyer at Enron Corp.’s Portland, Ore., trading hub where she had a front-row view of practices that injected chaos into electricity markets and sent rates soaring. She once scribbled: ‘Answer questions, say nothing. Answer questions, finger others.’ Those notes from October 2000 were reviewed later by investigators looking into market-gaming among the energy traders whom she advised on legal matters. . . . ‘As a lawyer, her knowledge of the schemes and apparent indifference to corruption seems like a very poor qualification as a regulator,’ said Robert McCullough, an Oregon energy consultant who has scrutinized the actions of Enron employees during
the troubling chapter of 2000-01.” — Chicago Tribune, Johnathan Peterson

April 11, 2006
FERC Spokesman: ‘Look at the Facts’ in Hiring of Ex-Enron Attorney
“As news broke over the weekend that a former Enron lawyer has been hired at FERC as a trial attorney specializing in technical rate matters, a Commission spokesperson on Monday urged skeptics to ‘look at the facts,’ and not to attach a ‘stigma affecting someone’s career just because of the simple fact they worked at Enron.” — Power Market Today

April 10, 2006
PGE Shares Decline on NYSE Trading Debut

“Despite Portland General Electric’s recent stock fall of 5% Robert McCullough states, ‘PGE is a peach of a utility’ and ‘the utility itself is in good shape.’ This article is not for distribution, please contact the publication directly.” — Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Tim Fought

April 8, 2006
U.S. Energy Commission Hires Ex-Enron Lawyer
Robert McCullough questions the hiring of former Enron Lawyer Mary Hain by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). — Los Angeles Times, Jonathan Peterson

March 23, 2006
McCullough Skeptical of Texas Market’s Validity
Robert McCullough comments on the Texas Market’s lack of transparency, and reminds the readers of past and current market manipulations. — Restructuring Today

February 15, 2006
City Continues to Dig into PGE’s Finances
Robert McCullough was interviewed by Ley Garnett as part of an article about Portland General Electric and the City of Portland. Robert McCullough was hired by the City of Portland as a consultant in this matter. This article is not available for distribution, please contact the publication for a copy.
— Oregon Public Radio (OPB), Ley Garnett

January 31, 2006
Hunch Becomes a Hunt
PGE’s involvement with Enron and its tax payments “. The goal: to see if the company’s involvement with improper Enron Corp. energy shenanigans has fueled a lasting power-rate hangover for Portlanders. If they find the evidence, Leonard has vowed to bring PGE rates down, using a long-forgotten city ordinance that surfaced only recently. This article is not for distribution, please contact the publication directly. — The Tribune, Nick Budnick

January 30, 2006
Enron’s Legacy: Scandal Marked Turning Point for Business World; Impact Felt in Energy Trading, Lawsuits, Corporate Governance and Regulations
“As Enron’s former top executives face criminal trial in Houston today, the legacy of Enron — the most sensational corporate fraud scandal in recent history — still ripples through the business world. ‘People are more circumspect because of the criminal convictions, but we’ve had very few substantive reforms,’ says Robert McCullough of energy consulting firm McCullough Research. This article is not for distribution, please contact the publication directly.” — USA Today, Edward Iwata

January 23, 2006
Portland Signs on Three Experts to Scrutinize PGE Practices
“Portland officials will dip into funds left over from the failed attempt to buy Portland General Electric to hire three energy experts for an investigation of the utility’s rate-setting practices. All are from the Portland area: Ann Fisher, a lawyer and consultant; Robert McCullough, a nationally recognized expert on wholesale power trading; and David Jubb, a lawyer and accountant. This article is not for distribution, please contact the publication directly.” — The Oregonian, Gail Kinsey Hill

Return to Top


September 28, 2005
Welcome to Gastoria
The argument continues on whether new terminals should be build on the Columbia River near Astoria. While speculation rangers from terrorist threats to spoiled views and environmental concerns few can ignore the rising prices of Natural gas. The irony to all this is that despite all the hubbub over LNG terminals, we may not need them, says Robert McCullough, a Portland energy economist and former PGE executive who has been heavily involved in a number of high-profile energy fights. This article is not for distribution, please contact the publication directly. — Willamette Week, Nick Budnick

July 28, 2005
Energy Bill Could Lead to More Public Power
Oregon Public Broadcasting consults Robert McCullough regarding the potential repeal of the the Public Utility Holding Company Act. “Robert McCullough: When energy prices become uncontrollable and it’s impossible to audit private companies, the only solution is to find a governmental alternative. That’s why we have municipal utilities all the way up and sown the I-5 corridor.” –OPB, Ley Garnett

July 23, 2005
Power Grid Holds Up as Demand Escalates
Robert McCullough comments on California plant shutdowns and the Stage 2 Emergency declared for Southern California on July 22, 2005. “A power plant voluntarily shutting down in California in late July is like Nordstrom closing shop the day before Christmas to paint its ceilings,” McCullough said. The California ISO is criticized for failing in advance to buy reserve power. — The San Diego Union-Tribune, Craig D. Rose

May, 2005
Power Play
In an article about the California energy crisis and Enron’s market manipulations, Robert McCullough “warns that the gaming may not be over.” — Portland Monthly, Pamela Maclean

April 4, 2005
One False Move
For years, investing legend David Bonderman could do no wrong. And then he tried to buy a utility from Enron. Like Enron before it, Texas Pacific misunderstood how different Oregon is from a place like Texas, says Robert McCullough, a former PGE executive who is now a utilities analyst.” — Fortune Magazine, Nicholas Varchaver

March 27, 2005
Grandma Millie, Meet the Detectives: An Unlikely Team Unmasks Enron
A description of the investigation by Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1 into market manipulation schemes discovered in taped recordings of Enron traders’ conversations. — LA Times, Jonathan Peterson

February 14, 2005
Higher power prices would harm industries here, study says
Robert McCullough comments on the Bush administrations’s plan to raise rates in the Northwest. — Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Neil Modie

February 14, 2005
Study sees job cuts in power-rate plan
“The proposed price increase would, in some ways, mimic the effects of skyrocketing prices witnessed during the West Coast energy crisis of 2000 and 2001, warned Robert McCullough, a Portland-based energy consultant who prepared the report. McCullough works for a number of private companies and utilities that buy power from the BPA. The crisis drove aluminum smelters to shut down and created havoc with the budgets of local utilities, driving up the bills of ratepayers. With many of the aluminum factories now gone, the brunt of the proposed price increases would be felt by other electricity-intensive industries such as chemical, steel and paper manufacturing, McCullough said. Oregon also would lose between 20,000 and 30,000 jobs, according to McCullough. — The Seattle Times, Warren Cornwall

February 3, 2005
Script foretells Enron debacle
“In one of the ironies of the Enron saga, company officials in February 2001 reviewed a script created by InnoVision Communications that depicted unscrupulous gas traders at work. The script even has one-time Enron Chief Executive Officer Jeff Skilling being handed a subpoena. “In hindsight, the script is unintentionally humorous,” Robert McCullough, managing partner of Portland, Ore.-based McCullough Research, told federal regulators in a filing this week.” — Houston Chronicle, David Ivanovich

Return to Top


June 5, 2004
Cal-ISO Issues Self-Criticism; State electricity agency admits in a report to questionable moves during the energy crisis.
“Robert McCullough, an energy consultant and a Cal-ISO critic, applauded the admissions by Cal-ISO, which he described as “a bit of an apology” from a traditionally secretive group. ‘This is a very different document than anything we’ve ever seen from the California ISO,’ . . . . ‘I don’t think they were crooked. I think it was a situation of bad governance, not of bad ethics.’ — Los Angeles Times, Elizabeth Douglass

June 3, 2004
Snohomish County, Wash., Utility Contends Enron Tapes Back Case for Refunds
Robert McCullough comments on the effects of Enron’s criminal activities. “There was a set of criminal activities that was so aggressive that even the dullest and most honest people showed up around the edges.” — The Seattle Times, Christopher Schwarzen

February 18, 2004
Analysts like one post-Enron company; remain skeptical of the other
“The question is how much economic value exists for these problem children,” said Robert McCullough, a forensic accountant and energy industry analyst who has combed through some of Enron’s convoluted finances. ‘In the absence of an arm’s-length transaction, valuation of these assets is dangerously speculative.'” — Associate Press, Kristen Hays

January 12, 2004

The article mentions Robert McCullough’s interest in following the Enron trials. — The Oregonian, Gail Kinsey Hill

Return to Top


December 30, 2003
Enron loses bid for SEC exemption
Robert McCullough says. “For PGE to argue that it has a major trading operation and is primarily intrastate at the same time would certainly stretch the facts”. — The Seattle Times, Amy Strahan Butler

November 19, 2003
Robert McCullough comments on the purchase of Portland General Electric in November 2003. — Houston Chronicle, Eric Berger

September 19, 2003
Enron’s new revamp plan will pay more to creditors
The article discusses Enron’s amended reorganization plan and speculation about how much Enron’s creditors would recover. — Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg News

August 15, 2003
Analysis: Blackout that’s sweeping across the Northeast, Midwest and parts of Canada
Robert McCullough’s appeared on National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” discussing the 2003 Northeast blackout. ‘Well, we’ve been here before. In 1965, we had a blackout about half this size that affected the same states and provinces. In that case, Congress and the Federal Power Commission, what’s now called FERC, took several months to get to the bottom of it. This is not the sort of situation where you can get on the Web and find an arrow. Someone has to walk through each piece of equipment in each utility. The timing is critical. The sheer complexity of it is unbelievable. Unlike the rest of the world, we have integrated the electric system from Saskatchewan to Florida, from New Orleans to Montreal, so it’s a big machine.’ — National Public Radio, Talk of the Nation, Neal Conan

February 26, 2003
Prices climb for power on spot market | Increases may eventually put pressure on retail rates
“Robert McCullough was one of the first people to cite causes of the 2000 energy crisis. Robert McCullough, a Portland-based energy consultant who was among the first to argue that the market was rigged during the crisis, said natural gas prices are also being driven higher by a switch from the use of oil — whose price has also risen sharply — and stockpiling of natural-gas supplies. He agreed that hydropower is also in shorter supply than usual at this time.” — The San Diego Union-Tribune, Craig D. Rose

January 28, 2003
Enron Trial has Captive Audience in Oregon
“When the capstone trial exploring Enron’s spectacular meltdown begins Monday in Houston, an extraordinary array of Portland-area residents will closely watch for new insights into the corporate debacle. Portland-based energy consultant Robert McCullough, who continues to advise clients on issues related to the 2000-01 power crisis, also says the high-profile trial could unloose new trading details.” — The Oregonian, Gail Kinsey Hill

January 3, 2003
Utilities Resume Power Trading: State ends two year run of electricity buying
Robert McCullough comments on the state of California’s energy market. “Things may get stranger before they get better, but we are gradually returning to a normal world,” said Robert McCullough, a Portland, Ore.-based utility consultant who has studied California’s power crisis. — The Oakland Tribune, Daniel Taub

Return to Top


December 20, 2002
Big-ticket long-term power buy is upheld
Robert McCullough comments on FERC’s obligation to West Coast consumers. “This is a situation when we have had energy traders who have pleaded guilty to wire fraud and energy firms that have settled court charges for enormous amounts, but FERC cannot find a connection between that and the overcharges,” McCullough said. — The San Diego Union-Tribune, Dean Calbreath

December 13, 2002
Overcharges in Calif. Estimated; Energy Firms Faulted, but $1.8 Billion Sum Is Less Than Sought
Robert McCullough says FERC’s rulings are scattershot: “We have completely inconsistent rulings from different cases.” — The Washington Post, Peter Behr

December 9, 2002
Settlement Reveals Another Enron Strategy The tactic, dubbed ‘Thin Man,’ comes out in a proposal between El Paso Electric and Federal

Robert McCullough says: “Thin Man didn’t get a lot of use because Fat Boy and other techniques designed to make the state grid operator think it was running out of electricity were more profitable”. . . . “The premise was to make sure the PX was always short.” — Los Angeles Times, Nancy Rivera Brooks

November 27, 2002
California Cal-ISO Says Enron Didn’t Force Blackouts
“McCullough characterized Cal-ISO’s report as an attempt to spare itself embarrassment because of miscalculations. ‘They wrestled the gun away from Enron, pointed it at their own feet and started blazing away'” –Los Angeles Times, Nancy Rivera Brooks

November 12, 2002
A Big Victory by California in Energy Case
“Robert McCullough, who runs an energy consulting firm in Portland, Ore., that has been investigating the California energy crisis for major energy users, said that, all in all, Williams appeared to be getting off relatively lightly. ”The value seems low to me,” he said. ”Williams had one of the biggest footprints in California. They appear all over the place with possible antitrust issues. So I’m not surprised they’d want to settle.” — New York Times, David Barboza

November 12, 2002
Marketplace News
“Robert McCullough recently appeared on nationally broadcasted radio program “Marketplace” to give his thoughts on California energy markets. ‘The big profits were correlated to market abuses in California and neighboring regions. Now that the abuses have ended, no one seems to be able to make a dime.’ — National Public Radio(NPR), Marketplace, Steve Tripoli

October 21, 2002
Brazen Trade Marks New Path of Enron Probe
The article is about trading manipulations by Enron’s Tim Belden. — Wall Street Journal, John R Wilke and Robert Gavin

September 25, 2002
Dynegy to Settle Trading Charges; SEC – Gas Deals misled investors about trading activities
Robert McCullough says “The good news is that one body of the federal government has investigated the quantity, but we’ve yet to get a report on the price issue.” — Chicago Tribune, Melita Marie Garza

May 7, 2002
Memo Shows Enron Role in Hiking Prices Electricity: ‘Smoking gun’ document by company lawyers reveals tactics that helped create energy shortage in California last year
“It’s one thing for economists to state that these things are happening. . . .It’s another thing for there to be internal documents on the table stating these things are happening [says Robert McCullough]. ” — Los Angeles Times, Nancy Rivera Brooks

May 6, 2002
Enron Knew Foreign Assets Had Declined
Robert McCullough on Whitewing, one the financial creation that was designed to mislead investors– The Wall Street Journal, Rebecca Smith

May 5, 2002
Interview by Steve Curwood, Living on Earth
Robert McCullough was interviewed on Living on Earth, regarding his testimony at the Senate hearings early in the Enron investigation. — National Public Radio, Living on Earth, Steve Curwood

February 1, 2002
Memos Show Enrons Hands in California Crisis
Robert McCullough says that, “Enron traders deliberately tried to create the appearance of shortages and congestion, prompting declarations of power blackouts that need not have been called in some cases.” — Washington Post, Peter Behr

January 20, 2002
How 287 Turned Into 7: Lessons in Funny Math
Robert McCullough comments on Enron and California: “We Don’t really know where reality sets in at Enron.” — New York Times, Gretchen Morgenson

Return to Top


June 1, 2001
Commodities Electricity Prices Fall on California Energy Crisis
Robert McCullough comments about the effects of conservation and “voluntary relinquishing of supplies by companies that switched to market-based rates” in the Pacific Northwest: “Virtually all of the aluminum and titanium production and half the magnesium has shut. That’s 3,000 megawatts of load, and we’ve lost a lead smelter, chemical mill and paper mills.” — Dow Jones, Mark Golden

January 31, 2001
Huge Bets paved way to Enron’s downfall
Robert McCullough says that Enron “showed some financial transaction going out 23 years, which is preposterous, of course. I call it pricing by rumor.” — Chicago Tribune, Flynn McRoberts

Return to Top


November 2, 2000
California Investigators Looking At WSCC Data On Generators
“The California Public Utilities Commission, whose investigation of high prices in the wholesale power market continues, requested and received data this week on power production by independent generators in the state, according to the CPUC’s manager of the investigation, Steven Weissman. The CPUC got the data from McCullough Research, a consulting firm in Portland, Oregon, which has been claiming that independent generators have been gaming the system.” — Dow Jones Newswires, Mark Golden

July 26, 2000
Officials Probe Rising Cost Of Electricity
“Amidst growing concern in the rise in prices, the Western Systems Coordinating Council refused to share its data on generation and transmission. Robert McCullough comments ‘Either everybody is way, way off on our forecasts and we’re headed for blackouts in August, or somebody is severely manipulating the market,’ Mr. McCullough says. ‘The only way to tell is to get this information and sift through it.'” — The Wall Street Journal, Rob Eure

February 9, 2000
BPA Plan for Power Lines Gets Static From Utilities
Robert McCullough evaluates Bonneville Power Administration plans to create an nonprofit administrative organization to manage high-voltage electric lines, and the potential to increase costs. — The Wall Street Journal, Rob Eure

Return to Top