Consumer group files with FERC opposing Standard Market Design

January 8, 2003 — The Conference to Restore Just and Reasonable Electricity Rates on Tuesday filed at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) their comments opposing FERC’s proposed Standard Market Design.

Criticizing the “profiteering and price gouging that has undercut the affordability of electricity service,” the conference declared that “Electricity is too important to leave to the market.” The conference pointed out that damage caused by the marketplace included a loss of public accountability, increased price volatility, a destroyed investment climate, and decreased service reliability.

The 30 signers of the statement include the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, California Public Utility Commissioners Loretta Lynch and Carl Wood, National Consumer Law Center, the Nevada Attorney General Consumer Advocate, and the Utah Committee on Consumer Services. Other signers come from California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New England, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

The conference proposed a program “To repair this damage and restore just and reasonable rates,” the components of which include:

“- “state regulators, public power authorities, and customer-owned cooperatives should be empowered to democratically supervise all aspects of the provision of electricity service to state residents”;
“- cost-based rates;
“- universal service protections;
“- inspection and maintenance rules to assure safe and reliable operation;
“- efficiency and renewables as power sources; and
“- recapture of the efficiencies lost by plant divestiture.

The document filed at FERC is based on the Resolution adopted by the Conference on September 29, 2002, after a two-day meeting in Washington, D.C. The full text of the Resolution is available.

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