Bunker Hill. Gettysburg. Pearl Harbor. Iwo Jima. The Cold War. Each of these famous conflicts resonates in our history books. Despite the end of the Cold War, we may face another battle, this time between the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the states over jurisdiction. It could leave some of the better-known conflicts looking like minor squabbles.
And just as these other battles produced tragic losses, the dispute between the FERC and the states could leave jurisdictional disputes unresolved and the industry whipsawed. Competing messages coming from both inside and outside the Beltway threaten to frustrate many of the laudable goals of the Mega-NOPR (FERC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Open-Access Transmission). Moreover, the movement toward competitive options for retail customers now coming from state capitols could come to a grinding halt, as state regulators and legislatures find themselves "frozen in the headlights" by the prospect that they may lose jurisdiction, not only over transmission lines, but over utility/customer relationships at the retail level, which for decades have formed a hallmark of regulation by state public utility commissions (PUCs).
Ohio recently hosted peace talks for Bosnia. So too would Ohio propose an olive branch (em more specifically, a solution to the conflict and confusion that may occur if the jurisdictional issues raised by the Mega-NOPR are not resolved clearly and amicably.
Overstepping the Bright Line