Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) has introduced a bill to replace the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA) with a new holding company act that would give the utility industry greater flexibility. Endorsed by a bipartisan group of senators, the bill is co-sponsored by Frank Murkowski (R-AK), chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA), ranking minority member on the committee.
The bill reflects many of the recommendations made last June by the Securities and Exchange
Commission's (SEC's) Division of Investment
Management, which suggested repealing PUHCA and transferring the Act's consumer safeguards to the FERC. The new bill would end the SEC's responsibility for regulating electric and gas utility holding companies, while giving the FERC and state utility commissions access to the books and records needed to protect consumers in ratemaking proceedings. The FERC would wield enforcement authority for the provisions of the new bill. The proposed bill would apply to existing public utility holding companies only, and would not change the status of companies that are exempt under present law.
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