Supreme Court upholds FERC rule on transmission line access

By Sylvie Dale, Online Editor

March 4, 2002 — The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday has upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) rule which says electric utilities must allow other power providers to use their transmission lines.

The decision backs up a 1996 FERC decision that was crucially important to large energy providers’ efforts to enter deregulated markets, reported.

The Supreme Court said FERC was within its rights to make the rule after utility regulators in Florida, Idaho, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington, Vermont and Wyoming challenged the decision.

The justices rejected two separate challenges; one from the state regulatory commissions and one from a unit of Enron Corp., Reuters News Service said.

The states had argued that FERC’s 1996 order ignores the authority of the states to regulate intrastate commerce, while Enron said FERC should have expanded its authority to retail and wholesale markets.

The Supreme Court had heard arguments in October in this case, which was appealed from a U.S. Appeals Court, which agreed with FERC’s authority to regulate state transmission in June of 2000.

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