The issue of the day is what to do with the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA). Whether the act will be repealed or merely revised is open to debate, but the consensus is that changes are forthcoming.
Ever since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its February order finding that the California commission had violated PURPA by requiring Southern California Edison Co. and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. to purchase power at above avoided costs, pundits have been proclaiming that the FERC intends to gut the act (Docket Nos. EL95-16-000 and EL95-19-000). At the FERC's April 12 meeting, Commissioner Donald F. Santa, Jr. criticized such predictions for creating "hysteria." Reaffirming the FERC's respect for the sanctity of contracts, Santa pointed to the Commission's decision denying New York State Electric & Gas Corp.'s (NYSEG's) petition to modify contract rates it pays for purchased power from two qualifying facilities (QFs) (Docket No. EL95-28-000). He further characterized the allegation that recent FERC orders have put existing QF contracts at risk as a "red herring."