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September/October 2002 Standard Market Design, Great Feedback

September/October  2002

Standard Market Design

On July 31 2002 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its “Standard Market Design (SMD)” Notice of Proposed Rulemaking as expected. The reaction on the West Coast has been predictably and justifiably negative. Most observers see great risk to citizens in the more than 600 page document, which is available on the Internet by selecting Standard Market Design Activities from the Featured Topics list at http://www.ferc.fed.us/.

 The Western Governors’ Association, an independent, nonprofit organization representing the governors of 18 states and three U.S.-Flag islands in the Pacific has made its opposition to SMD known to FERC. “FERC’s proposal to unravel protections afforded to utilities’ native load customers is very troubling,” states the Association’s August 22, 2002 letter to FERC Commissioners. “The presently fragile Western economy cannot afford missteps that may result from the unprecedented changes to our electric power system that are embodied in the SMD rule.” The governors said if other regions are anxious to implement the new rule, the FERC should test it in those regions to learn from that experience.

 The Alliance of State Leaders Protecting Electricity Consumers, an alliance of state utility regulators from 16 states, Attorneys General from two additional states and all of the 133 members and endorsers of the Northwest Power Works coalition point to several serious problems raised by the proposed Standard Market Design:

FERC’s proposal would jeopardize reliable, low-cost service by unnecessarily breaking up the traditional utility structure.
FERC’s proposal would not solve market power problems.
FERC’s proposal would “federalize” the resource planning process.
FERC does not have the facts to support its proposal.
FERC’s proposal unlawfully usurps the states’ ability to protect consumers.
If implemented, FERC’s proposal would reduce rates in high-cost areas at the expense of customers in low-cost areas.
FERC’s proposal threatens the ability of the states to pursue environmentally preferred renewable generating options.
FERC’s proposal would push the country toward greater volatility in electricity prices.

You can keep tabs on this threat to local control of your electric utility by monitoring the Northwest Power Works website at http://www.nwpowerworks.org/. If you would like further information on this topic, please contact Meaghan Williams at mwilliams@dcpud.org or 509-884-7191.

Great Feedback  

Douglas PUD has received a tremendous response from our customer owners in response to the last billing insert, which explained how the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) wants to change the way utilities buy, sell and transmit electricity.   

Each week, during the Douglas PUD Commission Meeting, those comments are shared with your Commissioners: Lynn Heminger, Mike Doneen and Jim Davis.  Manager Bill Dobbins responds to each customer comment.  A photocopy of customer comments regarding the FERC restructuring activity is sent to Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, Representative Doc Hastings and FERC Chairman Patrick Wood.   

Click here to view all of the customer comments about FERC.