- There is no way to achieve coherence in transmission policy without formal cooperation between federal and state regulators. Congress should urge these regulatory bodies to begin this process, in order to address issues of transmission pricing, unbundling of services, siting, access, and planning.
- Who should bear the risks of a transition to a more competitive industry? This is clearly a question of policy, and should be treated as such. As a matter of policy, the jurisdiction which is responsible for creating stranded assets should be the one which deals with its consequences. I applaud the California and Michigan commissions for dealing with this issue explicitly as part of their proposals. The FERC has done the same in its recent NOPR, but has left unclear the issue of possible preemption of state jurisdiction.
- Registered holding companies are currently shielded from competition by the ability to pick the regulatory forum to which they turn for decisions, and by judicial determinations which insulate self-dealing from market forces. The proposed "fix" to the Ohio Power case, now before the Congress, is a step in the right direction. However, there are still gaps and overlaps between federal and state jurisdictions that need to be addressed. In order to supervise transactions involving registered holding companies, the FERC and state PUCs need to work together. If the Congress is unwilling to codify the Pike County doctrine, it should urge the FERC to adopt it explicitly as a formal doctrine of regulatory federalism, andmake rulings that are consistent with multiple layers of jurisdiction.
In March 2011, EPA issued the Second Prospective Report which looked at the results of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020. According to this study, the central benefits estimate exceeds costs by a factor of more than 30 to one. The report was updated in April 2011.
The report includes an Executive Summary which describes the study and its findings in more detail and nine technical appendices which provide in-depth documentation for each of the analytical components.
Excerpt from the Executive Summary:
A. Congressional Request The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005)1 was designed to provide a comprehensive longrange energy plan for the United States. Section 1815 of the Act2 created an “Electric Energy Market Competition Task Force”3 (Task Force) to conduct a study of competition in wholesale and retail markets for electricity in the United States. Section 1815(b)(2)(B) required the Task Force to publish a draft final report for public comment at least 60 days prior to submitting the final report to Congress. The Task Force published the draft final report in June 2006 and sought comment on the preliminary observations contained in the draft. Based on those comments, and other input received earlier, the Task Force hereby submits this final report to Congress.
There is growing evidence that the cost savings potential of the Title IV SO2 cap-and-trade program is not being reached. PUC regulatory treatment of compliance options appears to provide one explanation for this finding. That suggests that PUCs and utility companies should work together to develop incentive plans that will encourage cost-minimizing behavior for compliance with the EPA’s recently issued Clean Air Interstate Rule.
The passage of the Energy Policy Act in 1992 ushered in a new competitive era in the U.S. electricity industry. The task ahead for both state and federal regulators is to make the regulatory changes that are a necessary part of these changes in the industry in a coherent fashion.
The Congress must encourage the FERC and the state commissions to exercise statesmanship on these issues, rather than continuing to engage in bureaucratic turf battles.