Mid-Atlantic utility commissioners urge Congress to improve wholesale power markets

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2003 — State utility commissioners from Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania recently issued a statement calling on Congress to pass federal energy legislation that improves wholesale power markets — without delay.

The text of that statement follows:

“We encourage the leadership of the U.S. Congress and the Congressional Delegations of our respective states to pass national energy legislation that allows the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to continue to work with state utility commissioners and industry stakeholders to achieve the benefits that wholesale energy markets can bring. We ask you to resist efforts to unnecessarily delay the implementation of a revised Standard Market Design rulemaking.

“FERC has undertaken an effort, unprecedented for a federal agency, to solicit input from state utility commissioners and other industry stakeholders on all sides of the debate. Its White Paper demonstrates that FERC has carefully listened to all parties and is willing to respond to well-reasoned concerns by altering plans and by recognizing regional differences. We believe that FERC, state utility commissions and industry stakeholders should continue to move forward with efforts to improve wholesale electric markets and to deliver the benefits of those markets to consumers.

“In order for markets to work efficiently, the rules by which market participants operate must be clear. Needlessly postponing FERC’s rules will have an adverse impact on the developing energy markets of our states — threatening the willingness of capital markets to invest in the development of essential generation and transmission facilities, and preventing the economic recovery of our energy sectors. Additionally, stalling improvements to America’s wholesale power markets will only lead to more of the economic uncertainty currently challenging our states.

“Most importantly, a lack of a clear federal policy is anti-consumer — preventing families and businesses in our states from enjoying the benefits of more dynamic wholesale power markets, including enhanced reliability, substantial savings, new technologies and more choices.”

On April 29, these regulators were part of a bipartisan group of 72 state utility commissioners from across the country to endorse a Statement of Principles that called well-designed and effectively monitored markets nationwide as being in the best interest of consumers.

“Recognizing the benefits that consumers receive due to the establishment of more dynamic wholesale power markets, we, the undersigned, call on members of Congress and other policymakers to support current regulatory efforts to further improve the wholesale power markets of our states and of our nation,” wrote the 72 state regulators, from different political parties, from diverse regions, and from both states that have restructured their energy markets and states that have not.

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