Northeast state regulators complain of FERC RTO mandate

By the OGJ Online Staff

HOUSTON, Oct. 9, 2001 – Maryland and District of Columbia utility regulators called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to slow its push to create a single regional transmission organization for the US Northeast.

But an organization called the One RTO Coalition said it supports the goal of designing and implementing a single market for day ahead and real time energy no later than May 1, 2003.

On July 11, FERC ordered the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection LLC, the New York Independent System Operator, and ISO New England to participate in mediation that would lead to a single Northeast RTO.

The state regulators claimed FERC is playing “Russian roulette” with the economic future of the northeastern region of the US. “Without any cost benefit analysis and no certainty that this is truly a good idea, let alone workable, a federal regulatory body took unwarranted and unsupportable action, potentially overtaking the national electric grid without ever hearing about costs or possible negatives,” the state agencies complained.

The Maryland and District of Columbia public service commissions said congress should put the brakes on FERC’s proposal until it knows whether the merger can work, how much it will cost, whether the benefits are worth the cost, and what are the risks.

FERC is trying to undo 70 years of reliable, stable systems in less than 120 days, regulators argued, and without permitting parties with different points of view to participate, they said.

The One RTO Coalition said its 45 members, including transmission owners, cooperatives, marketers, end users, and generators, want to see interregional seams issues addressed and support formation of a single Northeast RTO.

It said member companies represent 95,000 Mw of generation throughout the Northeast, half the top 25 power marketers in the US, and most of the PJM transmission owners, whose operations cover six states with 12,000 circuit miles of ISO-operated transmission lines.

An administrative law judge has issued his report on the talks, but commissioners haven’t responded to his recommendations. The US Supreme Court heard arguments 2 weeks ago challenging the original FERC order requiring open access to transmission systems.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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