NARUC to Congress: RPS compliance costs decisions best left to states

Washington, D.C., Aug 3, 2007 — The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) is urging the House of Representatives to oppose an amendment that would require State utility commissioners to pass through to consumers the costs associated with implementing a renewable energy portfolio standard.

In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), and all House members, NARUC president Jim Kerr stated that while NARUC has no position on the RPS itself, the association has consistently asserted that retail electricity rate structures should be determined exclusively by State utility regulators.

“NARUC has taken these positions because the delivery of retail electric service is a complex matter that is not conducive to a national, ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach,” Kerr wrote. “As a result, the manner and price at which retail electric service is provided is best handled by the State regulatory officials NARUC represents, who are obligated to take local conditions and preferences into account in deciding how such service is provided and paid for in a particular area.”

Kerr sent the letter as the House prepares to debate energy legislation this week. At issue is a section in an amendment offered by Reps. Tom Udall (D-NM) and Todd Platts (R-Penn) that would require State regulatory agencies to pass through RPS compliance costs to retail electricity consumers.

In his letter, Kerr stated that the potential adverse impacts on retail electric customers and local economies from such a mandate are significant and must be considered as Congress moves forward. This provision “could cause significant confusion and impair the abilities of the State regulatory agencies responsible for protecting consumers and ratepayers,” Kerr said.

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