Seeking the Best of Old and New, FERC Solicits Ideas on How to Create Long-term Transmission Rights in Markets With Locational Pricing

Taking another look at a controversial feature of restructured electricity markets, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") recently invited the public to comment on how long-term transmission rights could exist in markets that manage congestion with locational pricing. While market participants in restructured markets can purchase Financial Transmission Rights ("FTR") to hedge against congestion costs, FTRs have a term of only one year. In contrast, the life of a generating stations and the term of a typical power purchase agreements extend over many years, possibly decades. This...

Kansas Creates Electric Transmission Authority to Ensure that the Lights Stay on in the Sunflower State

Early in April, the Sunflower State followed Wyoming's lead in the creation of a state electricity infrastructure authority by passing the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority Act ("Act") and creating the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority ("Authority"). According to the Act, the Authority is responsible for ensuring the reliable operation of the state's integrated electrical transmission system and facilitating the consumption of the state's energy through improvements in Kansas ' electric infrastructure. The Act permits the Authority to accept federal agency grants for operation, and...

California Assembly Again Considers Retail Choice for Large Customers

The California State Assembly is considering the possibility of returning retail choice to the state, after its suspension during the 2000-2001 energy crisis. Assembly Bill 1704 ("AB 1704"), introduced by Assemblyman Keith Richman (R-Granada Hills), would establish a core/non-core retail market in California. Under the proposal, utility customers who use more than 200 KW ("non-core" customers) could choose either to take service from direct-access providers or remain with their investor-owned utility, while individual and small commercial customers would continue receiving service from the...

U.S. District Court Finds Filed Rate Doctrine also Applies to Market-Based Rates in Natural Gas Markets

On April 8, 2005, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada found that the filed rate doctrine prohibited federal and state antitrust and unfair competition claims against sellers of natural gas. In In Re W. States Wholesale Natural Gas Antitrust Litig., the Court affirmed FERC's exclusive authority to determine the reasonableness of wholesale natural gas prices under the Natural Gas Act, even in the context of a price-deregulated natural gas market. The court's decision joins other recent legal decisions protecting the price expectations of market-based sellers of both natural gas...

FERC Audits Two Market-Based Rate Sellers "“ Reaction to Ninth Circuit Lockyer Decision Concerning Reporting Requirements for Market-Based Rate Sellers?

FERC announced in April that it would begin auditing power sellers with market-pricing authority for compliance with demanding quarterly reporting requirements. The audits plainly come in response to the dubious court decision in Lockyer v. FERC and signal to all market-price sellers the need to heighten their attention to accurate quarterly reporting both in the past and going forward. Last September, the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled that wholesale power sales under a market-based tariff, if not individually detailed in quarterly filings with FERC, were "pragmatically" sales with...

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