Electric's Players Tell Senate Panel Where to Jump In, Butt Out
With three hearings behind it, what has the Senate panel on electric restructuring learned from regulators, utility execs and other industry types who have testified?
Granted, some candor has emerged from all the maneuvering and positioning typical of electric industry and sector leaders, but is that enough for the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to develop a position on federal legislation, without input from energy consumers and the voting public?
Sen. Frank H. Murkowski, committee chair, said he expected to hold more workshops to explore the fuel, financial and consumer implications of restructuring. On the House side, Rep. Dan. Schaefer (R-Colo.), chair of the Energy and Power Subcommittee, planned four "field hearings" from April 14 to May 9.
Elizabeth A. Moler, chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, shared some of the more frank testimony on March 20 when she voiced "personal opinions" on the subject before the committee. She said she did not doubt federal legislation establishing national policy would make the power supply industry more efficient, competitive and reliable.
She acknowledged that Order 888 is limited in scope: Much of the electric power grid (em the transmission facilities of federal power marketing administrations, the Tennessee Valley Authority, municipal and cooperative utilities, and ERCOT utilities (em lies beyond the FERC's reach, leaving a 30-percent gap in jurisdiction.
"Nationwide open access has some holes," she said. "Federal legislation is necessary to fill these holes."