Republican News

Washington, D.C. – Senate Energy Chairman Pete Domenici has issued his chairman’s mark on electricity aimed at establishing reliability rules, strengthening consumer protections, preventing market manipulation and creating incentives to build new transmission. The Senate Energy Committee will mark up the legislation Wednesday, April 30th, at 10 a.m. in SD-366. Senator Domenici’s statement: I am straightforward about the fact that the Committee is divided largely along regional lines on electricity. Despite the challenge that represents, I am committed to an electricity title. The experience in California and the current financial condition of the sector make it clear something needs to be done, but I, and most of my colleagues, are uncomfortable leaving the matter entirely to the FERC. Developing this mark has been an iterative process. I first directed the staff to respond to criticism that FERC’s SMD proposal was an unnecessary usurpation of state authority. In response, the staff developed the Regional Energy Service Commission proposal in the first staff draft. That proposal was roundly criticized – a reflection of the fact that, while some are raising state’s right’s concerns, most market participants and state regulators have already accepted FERC’s direction as inevitable. Following the reaction to the RESC proposal, I concluded that market participants generally support open and competitive markets, but they are distrustful of FERC and want some level of certainty regarding FERC’s authority. For that reason, the second staff draft set guidelines, derived from FERC Order 2000, regarding the criteria for RTO’s and mades clear that FERC needs to give substantial deference to state interests in these matters.. This approach recognized the future of the electricity market while addressing the fear market participants have that FERC might over-reach its authority or place unreasonable demands upon the participants. This approach was better received. The mark I released last night, which will serve as the basis for Committee consideration of electricity next week, is a refinement on the second staff draft. I know there will be many amendments, some of which I may very well support.” ###