State utility officials release statement expressing concern over FERC’s proposed national market design

PORTLAND, Ore., Aug. 1, 2002 — Eighteen regulators from utility commissions in 15 states issued a statement recently expressing concern about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) proposed rules seeking to standardize electricity markets.

“Centralized control of electricity by Washington D.C. will not benefit consumers and businesses,” said Marilyn Showalter, chair of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. “FERC is subjecting our consumers and economy to a reckless experiment.”

The statement was unveiled at a news conference recently at which Showalter, California Public Utilities Commission President Loretta Lynch and South Dakota Public Utilities Commission Chair Jim Burg talked with reporters in attendance and via conference call.

The statement follows:

“As state regulators from utility commissions across the nation, we express deep concern with the intrusive, comprehensive nature of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) proposal to standardize electricity markets. We believe that FERC has yet to make the case that standardizing markets will benefit consumers and businesses in our states.

“Decisions about the buying and selling of electricity for consumers should be left to those who know their power systems best — regions of the country that have invested time and resources to ensure that their power systems work for their citizens. This far-reaching proposal raises troublesome issues about the appropriate balance of regulatory authority between state and federal agencies.

“It is unclear that FERC’s proposed rules will provide the promised benefits to our consumers, and could well do the opposite — increase prices, decrease reliability and open up the market to the same price — volatility and price-gouging that crippled the West in 2000 and 2001.

“We’ve seen the defects of restructuring, and consumers are still reeling from increased costs.

“We call on Congress to preserve the tools that states have to oversee electric markets and to continue investigations into the recent manipulation of the electrical system.”

SIGNERS:

* Jim Sullivan, president, Alabama Public Service Commission, 334-242-5218
* Sandra Hochstetter, chair, Arkansas Public Service Commission, 501-682-1455
* Carl Wood, commissioner, California Public Utilities Commission, 415-703-2440
* Loretta Lynch, president, California Public utilities Commission, 415-703-2444
* Lauren McDonald, Jr., vice-chair, Georgia Public Service Commission, 404-463-6745
* Paul Kjellander, president, Idaho Public Utilities Commission, 208-334-2898
* Martin Huelsmann, chair, Kentucky Public Service Commission, 502-564-3940
* Jimmy Field, commissioner, Louisiana Public Service Commission, 225-342-6900
* Michael Callahan, chair, Mississippi Public Service Commission, 601-961-5440
* Nancy Brockway, commissioner, New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission, 603-271-2443
* Jo Anne Sanford, chair, North Carolina Utilities Commission, 919-733-6067
* Joan Smith, commissioner, Oregon Public Utilities Commission, 503-378-6611
* James Atkins, commissioner, South Carolina Public Service Commission, 803-896-5270
* Pam Nelson, commissioner, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, 605-773-3201
* Jim Burg, chair, South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, 605-773-3201
* Dick Hemstad, commissioner, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, 360-664-1169
* Marilyn Showalter, chair, Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, 360-664-1173
* Steve Furtney, deputy chair, Wyoming Public Service Commission, 307-777-7427

Source: Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission


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