Monthly Archives: August 2006

Consumer Challenge to FERC "Market-Based Rate" System Proceeds

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has jurisdiction over wholesale electric rates and rates for interstate transmission of energy. In recent years it has allowed sellers of wholesale energy to file standard “market-based rate” tariffs that, instead of containing schedules specifying all rates and charges, simply say rates, terms and conditions of all sales shall Read more…

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PSC Replaces NYSEG Fixed Default Service Rates with Variable Rate Option

On August 23, 2006 the PSC issued an order rejecting fixed rate default service now received and desired by the overwhelming majority of NYSEG residential electricity customers. The Commission ordered substitution of a variable rate option as the “default” service, even for customers who previously rejected a variable rate option or who affirmatively chose fixed Read more…

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Solar Revolution or Cold Fusion?

The quest for cost effective solar electricity has until now been almost as elusive as cold fusion. Improvements in cost effectiveness seemingly are always just around the corner, but even with higher fuel prices there is long way to go before the cost of solar cell technology is reduced enough to displace significant amounts of Read more…

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GridSpan Goes to Washington

On April 26, 2006 representatives of National Grid and KeySpan met privately with the FERC Chairman and two FERC Commissioners in Washington, D.C. to brief them regarding the proposed acquisition of KeySpan by National Grid. National Grid is a British holding company with utility and non-utility operations in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and Read more…

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CATO Institute Rethinking Electricity Restructuring

The Cato Institute, generally an advocate of less regulation and free markets, has published recent papers questioning the wisdom of electricity industry restructuring as it was done by 16 states, including New York, and the District of Columbia. This comes at a time when a federal task force is completing its report on wholesale and Read more…

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Court Reverses FCC Preemption of State Wireless Telephone Consumer Protection Measures

Wireless telephone consumers were dealt a severe blow when the FCC issued an order preempting states from protecting wireless telephone consumers. Although states cannot regulate the rates of wireless phone companies, the federal law allows them to regulate other terms and conditions. But when states responded to consumer complaints and attempted to regulate the presentation Read more…

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Consumer Groups Question FERC Market Rates

Restructuring Increased Reliance on Wholesale Rates Under FERC Jurisdiction After the New York PSC encouraged Con Edison to “restructure” in its 1996 “vision order“, Con Edison agreed with the PSC in a 1997 rate/restructuring agreement to sell nearly all of its power plants to three new owners, from whom Con Edison now buys much of Read more…

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The Queens Blackout

Investigations of the July 2006 Queens blackout  The scope of the outages and brownouts in Con Edison’s Long Island City network, which at times affected over 100,000 persons, was not known for days. The lack of accurate communication is the source of considerable dissatisfaction on the part of local and state officials and others concerned Read more…

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