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Frontlines

Fortnightly Magazine - December 1999

source advised. "I saw the conference as a way for state commissioners to tell the FERC to back off. It is increasingly clear that state commissioners are becoming the key constituency for the ISOs."

The source thus saw transcos as a potential solution, "because they will be FERC-regulated businesses and state regulators will have no opportunity for input."

FERC Commissioner Curt Hébert did not attend the Albany conference. But in comments that he "mailed in" to the meeting, he acknowledged sentiments against wider RTO boundaries but warned state PUCs against assuming that smaller ISOs will help them preserve their authority.

"If you go along with an ISO, you may think you have influence on the governing board, while with a transco you have no seats. Think again. On an ISO others will outvote you. Or, worse yet, no one will be in charge."

Hébert added, "If you think you will use your siting authority, you won't, because then the ISO will go to Congress and want to give [the] FERC siting authority, as the Administration and Barton Bills provide for.

"With a transco, on the other hand, you deal with a profit-making business, as you do with other businesses in your states. ¼ You can negotiate."

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