Grid operator seeks relief in Lehman case

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - A U.S. electric grid operator filed court papers seeking the right to cancel debts with Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. tied to trades that were frozen when the investment bank filed for bankruptcy.

The Midwest Independent System Operator (MISO), which oversees the power grid in the U.S. Midwest and parts of Canada, and administers a wholesale electric market, said in court papers it needed to close out several transactions with Lehman.

A spokesman at MISO said Lehman owed the grid operator money, but could not say how much was owed. He said Lehman had more than enough cash in collateral to cover the bill.

He could not say immediately how much collateral Lehman had with the MISO, noting the amount depended upon a market participant's level of activity. MISO has an electronic platform where companies and individuals can buy and sell electricity.

A Lehman declined to comment on the filing. The court papers did not specify how much is owed to either party.

At any given time, MISO said it had 32 different types of market charges that could be due from or paid to Lehman, according to the documents. MISO said in the court papers it was trying to complete its "ordinary business practices," adding that its contract with Lehman should excuse it from an automatic stay that prevents creditors from seizing funds at bankrupt companies.

Over the past decade or so, banks like Lehman, hedge funds, brokerage firms and other traders have joined electricity generators and utilities in trading in the power market.

A hearing on the motion is scheduled for Dec. 3 in the case, according the papers.



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