The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has declined jurisdiction in a dispute between Montana Power Co. and Puget Sound Power & Light Co. over a firm purchased-power contract and the seller's obligation to exert "best efforts" to secure necessary firm contractual rights to transmission service to complete the firm power transaction. The FERC prefers that the matter be heard in the federal district court in Montana, where related litigation is already pending. The FERC explained that it does not possess special expertise beyond that of a court on the issue in question, since its responsibilities would not compel a uniform interpretation of the language in the contract (Docket No. EL96-7-000).
Montana Power had sold firm power from its Colstrip plant to Puget Power, and had contracted with the Bonneville Power Administration to secure an adequate transmission path to ensure firm service. Puget Power terminated the contract, alleging a failure by the seller to secure and maintain contractual transmission rights.
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