Hearings and Business Meetings

SD-366 Energy Committee Hearing Room 10:00 AM

The Honorable Philip Moeller

Commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

TESTIMONY OF

PHILIP D. MOELLER

NOMINEE TO BE A MEMBER OF THE
FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION

BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES

UNITED STATES SENATE

June 8, 2006

 Chairman Domenici, Senator Bingaman and members of the committee, it is a great honor to be before you today as a nominee to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  I express thanks to President Bush for nominating me to this position, and I thank you for holding this hearing.

I have been involved in energy policy development for over 20 years.  For much of my early career, I was the staff director for the Washington State Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee in Olympia, where I saw firsthand both the positive and challenging effects of decisions by FERC on my state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region -- most notably with the restructuring of the natural gas industry in the 1980s and the development of more competitive interstate wholesale electricity markets in the 1990s.  

I came to work here in the United States Senate for Senator Slade Gorton of Washington State in 1997, where my primary responsibility was to work on a wide range of energy policy legislation.  In addition to focusing on regional energy issues and hydropower policy, I spent a great deal of time developing electric reliability legislation.  As a Senate office, we saw the Western electricity crisis develop in the early summer of 2000 and witnessed the devastating impacts that high prices had on the economy of the state and region, and on the lives of the consumers and citizens of our state and the entire West.  The memories of that experience will always motivate me to work at assuring that energy consumers are protected when energy policy is actually implemented in the marketplace.

After leaving public service I have worked in the private sector on energy policy, both with a generating company and a utility.  This experience has broadened my perspective, especially regarding energy issues that are crucial to the Midwest states.

Thanks in large part to the efforts of Chairman Domenici, Senator Bingaman and this entire committee, last year’s Energy Policy Act is now law.  In addition to the law’s wide range of policies promoting both the supply side and the demand side of energy, EPACT 2005 also aided energy consumers through new consumer protection mechanisms and modernized authority for FERC to impose fines and penalties intended to prevent market manipulation.
 The law gave FERC a long list of responsibilities and tasks to accomplish.  Chairman Kelliher and the rest of the Commission have worked diligently to assure that, to date, all of the tasks assigned to FERC have been completed on time and under budget.  Many of the tasks assigned to FERC remain to be addressed, and if confirmed I would work to assure that this trend continues.  I would also closely follow whether the provisions of EPACT 2005 are working to meet the intent of Congress.

It is essential that FERC and Congress work closely together and maintain strong lines of communication.  If confirmed by the Senate, I believe my experience working for a member of this committee will enhance this relationship at a critical time of energy policy implementation.  It would be an honor and a privilege to return to public service at the FERC.  I appreciate the chance to testify before you today and look forward to answering your questions.