It comes as no surprise that regulated investor-owned utilities (IOUs) hold divergent views on the restructuring of the electric industry. Size, generation cost, transmission access, customer loyalty, and the friendliness of state regulators all factor into their individual visions of restructuring. Just how far these conceptions vary becomes obvious from the comments filed by the IOUs to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on open-access transmission and stranded investment.1
In all, 83 entities (including individual companies and groups of affiliates filing a single document) submitted comments on the NOPR. These 83 comments represent most of the 137 public utilities the FERC estimates will be subject to its rulemaking.2
In general, well over half of the IOU commenters expressly state that they favor the Mega-NOPR's overall thrust. That is, they support concept of nondiscriminatory access to transmission lines. Some utilities want conditions on open access: e.g., fairness to transmission owners and existing customers (Allegheny Power), voluntary implementation (Ohio Edison), or compressive enforcement (all transmission owners should be open, says Oklahoma Gas & Electric). And some challenge the method of implementation. Nevertheless, no IOU commenter has gone on record in the rulemaking to oppose the idea of open access. These comments, therefore, seem to reflect an acceptance by IOUs that open access is an inevitable component of increased competition.
Can the FERC Mandate