Stakeholder coalition urges FERC to establish one Midwest RTO

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 27, 2001 – Members of the Midwest Transmission Stakeholders Group (MTSG) today urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to move decisively toward establishing a single, coordinated Midwest regional transmission organization (RTO) and stand firm against the advocates of further delay.

Ryan Kind of the Missouri Office of the Public Counsel emphasized that electricity consumers are suffering on-going harm from the current patchwork of transmission control areas: “Wholesale price volatility and constrained access to transmission facilities continue to penalize residential and commercial energy users alike. A single Midwest RTO is needed now to address these inequities.”

Sam Randazzo, Counsel for the Coalition of Midwest Transmission Consumers (CMTC) and Industrial Energy Users-Ohio (IEU-Ohio), both members of the MTSG, stated: “It is imperative, for the sake of the Midwest economy, that FERC move decisively toward the establishment of a single RTO for this region. Dozens of stakeholder groups in the Midwest representing all segments of electricity industry consumers face excessive risk from the unreliable performance of our legacy systems and suppliers’ ability to increase prices by exercising market power.”

Emphasizing broad support for this FERC action, Terry Black, a representative of public interest organizations involved in the FERC proceedings added: “FERC’s goal of ‘a seamless national power marketplace’ is strongly supported by this broad cross-section of Midwest stakeholders including state Public Utility Commissioners, state residential Consumer Advocates and dozens of business groups. We call on FERC to reject utility pressure to ‘go slow,’ and proceed without delay to provide strong, immediate and on-going leadership to accomplish this goal. Even if the FERC is forced to move slowly in other regions of the country because of political pressure, we urge the FERC to recognize the broad and unwavering support for meaningful action that has come from Midwest state regulatory commissions and other stakeholders since 1998, and proceed at a prudent, yet deliberate pace to implement a single transmission organization,” he added.

“We hope the FERC will focus the momentum of the last few months and act to require a single Midwest transmission organization, allowing the energy- intensive Midwest to benefit from the coordination and efficiency gains of a single marketplace,” Randazzo emphasized. “This is a case where progress delayed is progress denied,” he added.

The Midwest Transmission Stakeholders Group is an ad hoc group of state commissioners, state consumer advocates, transmission dependent utilities, environmental groups and numerous business organizations whose goal is the development of a single, regional transmission organization meeting the requirements of FERC’s Order No. 2000 and state laws. Representative organizations are noted below.

The Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity (ABATE) is an association of 23 major Michigan job providers organized to ensure fair electric and gas rates for state energy users.

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) was formed by the Illinois legislature in 1983 to serve as a voice for residential and small-business utility ratepayers. CUB is a nonpartisan, nonprofit statewide organization funded by Illinois consumers and a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Trust. Though created by the state, CUB receives no state tax dollars. CUB is guided by a 20-member board of directors, with one director elected by dues- paying CUB members in each of Illinois’ Congressional Districts.

The Coalition of Midwest Transmission Customers (CMTC) is an ad hoc coalition of large industrial end-users of electricity. All CMTC members operate one or more manufacturing facilities in the Midwest and purchase electric delivery service or bundled electric service from at least one of the transmission owners encompassed by the Midwest ISO. CMTC members consume more than 3 billion kilowatt-hours of energy annually. CMTC has been an active participant in state and federal regulatory proceedings involving member transmission owners participating in the Midwest ISO, as well as proceedings involving the Midwest ISO and the proposed Alliance RTO.

The Industrial Energy Users-Ohio (IEU-Ohio) is an association of large Ohio energy consumers that spend collectively over $3 billion per year on electricity and natural gas for their plants and facilities. IEU-Ohio’s members employ over 250,000 people in Ohio. IEU-Ohio’s members work together to address matters that affect the availability and price of utility services. IEU-Ohio seeks to promote customer-driven policies that will assure an adequate, reliable, and efficient supply of energy for all consumers at competitive prices. IEU-Ohio has also been an active participant in state and federal regulatory proceedings involving member transmission owners participating in the Midwest ISO, as well as proceedings involving the Midwest ISO and the proposed Alliance RTO. Additionally, CMTC and IEU-Ohio’s members have representation on the Midwest ISO Advisory Committee as an eligible end- use customer member representative.

The Missouri Office of the Public Counsel (MOPC) is an independent state agency established by the state of Missouri to represent and protect the interests of the public, including residential and small business electricity customers in regulatory proceedings and the courts where decisions are made concerning utilities regulated by the Missouri Public Service Commission.

The Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC), a state agency, is the legal representative and residential utility advocate serving as a resource for individuals who have questions and concerns or would like more information about the services provided by their publicly owned electric, natural gas, telephone and water companies.

The Project for Sustainable FERC Energy Policy is an education and advocacy initiative of a consortium of regional and national public interest groups, including Izaak Walton League of America, Inc. and Citizens Action of Indiana, Inc. in the Midwest. The Project works on regulatory policy options available to the FERC as it directs changes in the electric industry. The Project’s goal is FERC implementation of policies that help to assure a sustainable energy future – i.e., policies that support long-term efficiency, cost minimization and environmental responsibility in the production and use of electric power.

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