Mid-American Energy Co., Illinois Power Co., Wisconsin Power & Light Co., Western Resources, Inc., IES Utilities, and Commonwealth Electric Co.
"We consider this a success story," said FERC chair Elizabeth A. Moler. "While we still have a long way to go, this is real progress. Utilities are seeing the advantages of open access and this will benefit consumers." Moler also noted that the FERC has received 16,000 pages of original comments from 400 parties on the March open-access Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR).
In a separate action, the FERC announced that if electric utilities file open-access tariffs consistent with the pro forma tariffs in the open-access NOPR, and can meet the FERC's other criteria, they may charge market-based rates without refund liability. If they do not file consistent tariffs, they cannot charge market rates. The end result will be no more market-based tariffs subject to refund.
The policy change came in an order providing further guidance on proceedings that will come before the FERC while its proposed rule is pending. The FERC stressed that any tariff becoming effective during the rulemaking must conform to the substantive requirements of the final rule. Also, all nonrate terms and conditions will be addressed in the NOPR, rather than in case-by-case litigation.