not a grab for power.
The jurisdictional issues posed by Order 888 continue to breed tension between federal and state officials. Unfortunately, most of this tension too often elevates form over substance. This jurisdictional tension shifts the focus of decisionmaking from securing the benefits of competition to preserving regulatory turf.
In Order 888, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) extends four important olive branches to those states that want to introduce customer choice at the retail level. While these olive branches are not a fundamental concession by the FERC, state officials should pursue them before attacking Order 888 for its broad claims over jurisdiction.
Some of the most outspoken advocates of states' rights within the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) would likely call my response overly generous to the FERC, as well as overly optimistic. My more zealous colleagues in state regulation would argue that what I describe as olive branches are brittle twigs at most (em no more than fig leaves to cover the preemptive heart that beats deep within the supposedly imperialist FERC.
Yet I am not a state official who is itching to fight the feds. I care not about FERC/state jurisdictional disputes for their own sake. I am not a state official who believes that an adequate response to this complex and crucial matter is to chant "state rights or no preemption." I care about the jurisdictional issues only because I want to bring the considerable benefits of electric generation competition to the families and businesses of Pennsylvania.