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Frontlines

Forced consolidation of RTOs would set transmission owners free to go after profits.
Fortnightly Magazine - August 2001

coordination, held on June 19. Then there was no clear call for consolidation, beyond what I'd already heard. "Forced marriages are bad for everyone," said Nicholas Brown, from the Southwest Power Pool.

Others had suggested that the FERC should certify new RTOs immediately, without waiting for all characteristics and functions to comply, so as to make them jurisdictional and give the commission unquestioned authority to force them to move more quickly, but this idea also saw its detractors.

"We are participating with RTO West, but we don't want to join agreements to which we did not participate in negotiations." said Yakout Mansour, from British Columbia Hydro.

Will the industry now buy in? "I don't know," says Attorney Sheila Hollis, from Duane, Morris & Heckscher, "but we're sure going to be busy. I think the northeast and southeast ISOs "will give it a very serious try to make it work."

Hollis doubts that FERC has created a windfall for utilities, as Brown suggests, but instead finds it more important that FERC has signaled a new way of doing things.

"The most important thing is the human interaction on the commission," she told me, as brought about largely by the presence of the two new Bush appointees. "We're watching the future stretch before us."

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