Eleven members of the U.S. House of Representatives have written to Chair Elizabeth A. Moler asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to address competitive issues arising from the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA). The letter argues that Moler and Department of Energy deputy secretary Curtis made "diametrically opposed" statements when testifying before the House Energy and Power Subcommittee: Curtis asked Congress to put repeal on hold and allow the FERC to address PURPA's inequities through administrative reforms; Moler claimed that these inequities had been solved and that the FERC did not need to pursue administrative reform because Congress may repeal the Act.
Although Congress is considering repeal of PURPA's mandatory purchase requirement, the representatives emphasize that such legislation might not become law this year. Thus, they urge FERC reform efforts: "If the regulations under PURPA are not updated or enforced, the transition to a more competitive electric industry will be made even more difficult and the costs associated with this transition will be even greater." The representatives advise the FERC to lift the requirement that utilities sign long-term supply contracts with locked-in rates. t
Lori A. Burkhart is an associate legal editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.
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