Will the Feds weigh in on the great Buckeye brawl?
Bruce Radford is executive editor of Public Utilities Fortnightly. Contact him at email@example.com.
This month we'll highlight a pair of complaints filed in late January at the U. S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that probably won't lead anywhere - because FERC won't likely act on them - but which nevertheless speak volumes about the direction that electric utility regulation has gone in the recent past, and where it might go in the future.
The two cases deal ostensibly with the integrity of wholesale markets - a subject squarely within FERC's wheelhouse. But read between the lines and you find nothing less than an open invitation from merchant generating companies for FERC to wade into a swamp - to stick its nose into what has become a knock-down, drag-out battle across the state of Ohio on the future of retail electric competition.
Ohio, after all, is a retail choice state. So why would FERC want to antagonize a state that it probably counts as an ally?
The twin complaints, both filed in late January, come to us courtesy of EPSA, the Electric Power Supply Association. Joining EPSA are other notable members of the nation's merchant generating community, including Dynegy, NRG, GenOn, and the Retail Energy Supply Association. They beseech FERC to take a more active role in reviewing wholesale power contracts between regulated and unregulated utility affiliates that are cropping up now in Ohio.