Senators Want PURPA Repealed

Senators Want PURPA Repealed

Florida`s Connie Mack and Bob Graham have introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to repeal the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), a legacy of the 1970s energy crisis that requires utilities to buy power from small independent producers. Representative Cliff Stearns of Florida has introduced a companion bill in the House.

PURPA was intended to encourage independent producers to develop alternative power generation sources, especially from renewable resources that would have to be bought by utilities. Many of the long-term supply contracts entered into years ago by utilities are still in effect. The contracts called for power to be bought at prices higher than what the power can be sold competitively to consumers today.

Under the legislation, the power supply contracts would not automatically be null and void, but would be reviewed by state utility regulators. Consumer groups in the past have opposed legislation to repeal PURPA unless it was included in a much larger bill to deregulate the nation`s electricity markets. n

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