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Republican News

Committee Chairs Send Bicameral Letter to FERC Requesting Technical Conference on PURPA

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and U.S. Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., chairman of the House Energy and Power Subcommittee, sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting that the agency convene a technical conference to examine the implementation of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA).

“Electricity markets, generation technologies, and investments in the electric grid have changed substantially since PURPA was enacted nearly 40 years ago as part of President Carter’s energy plan. Since then, competitive electricity markets and open access policies have emerged and matured, expanding the markets for new generation sources, particularly renewable energy resources,” Members wrote in the letter.  

In the letter, the chairmen urge FERC to take a comprehensive look at PURPA. In developing broad energy legislation this year, both Committees received testimony on the potential need for policy reform, with one witness testifying that his company is locked into a PURPA “must purchase” contract at rates that are 43 percent higher than the market price, forcing customers to pay an incremental $1.1 billion over the next 10 years for electricity that is not even needed.

FERC’s evaluation of PURPA and its implementation will help identify potential administrative or legislative updates to ensure the appropriate role for PURPA in today’s electricity marketplace.


The letter is available on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s website.