"THESE ARE THE DOG DAYS OF DEREGULATION." That's how Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman James Hoecker put it last month in Houston at his luncheon talk at the Sixth DOE/NARUC National Electricity Forum. He bemoaned the "evidence of delay" in restructuring that now "clearly exists."
Don't be fooled. What Hoecker has up his sleeve is nothing less than a full-scale overhaul of FERC Orders 888 and 889. I could see no other explanation as I sat in the audience, listening as the chairman acknowledged that transmission markets are still plagued by discriminatory practices, in words that sounded very much like they could have come from John Anderson (at ELCON), Steven Kean (Enron), Kathryn Patton (Dynegy), or any number of other executives from power marketers or their ad hoc coalitions who have been complaining for some time now about abuses by transmission-owning utilities. Further evidence shows up on page 19 in the order of Sept. 16 approving the Midwest ISO, where the FERC promised a rulemaking "or other generic proceeding in the future" to address regional coordination.
Yet this sequel to Order 888 is destined not just to strengthen ISO formation or to rehash the transco-ISO debate, but to spark a revolution.