Reliant Energy (one of the independent generators selling power in California) has issued a report explaining that they aren’t turning a higher profit in California now than they were before the energy crisis. Their report, Myths Debunked: The Real Story of Wholesale Power Costs in California (PDF) puts their higher revenue down to greater demand and higher cost for natural gas. Interestingly, the way the spot market for power works in California is that everyone sells their power at a rate set by the least efficient plants, which happen to be natural gas fired plants. So companies selling power that’s cheaper to produce (like nuclear or hydroelectric) are, in fact, making out like bandits. The gotcha here is that the hydroelectric and nuclear plants are owned for the most part by the California utilities, not the independents.