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Utility Dive: Democratic Senators push to include FERC Reform in Comprehensive Senate Energy Bill

Posted by Catherine Morehouse on Mar 9, 2020

Utility Dive covered Democratic U.S. senators filing amendments to the American Energy Innovation Act that would prevent FERC's (minimum price rule) MOPR, quoting AEE's Jeff Dennis and Dylan Reed. Read excerpts below and the entire UD piece here. 

"Congress is concerned about barriers to the participation of advanced energy technologies in these markets, and also concerned, I think, about the balance of state policies and federal regulation of the wholesale markets," Managing Director and General Counsel at Advanced Energy Economy Jeff Dennis told Utility Dive.

"I think the fact that we saw ... amendments on that introduced was pretty significant."
Of the hundreds of amendments introduced by the Senate since the legislative package was first unveiled Feb. 28, only 18 made it into the modified version filed by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Murkowski last week. But the FERC amendments, introduced by four Democratic senators, indicate several growing frustrations around the actions of federal energy regulators, said Dennis...

The MOPR-related amendments in particular "are more aggressive proposals to sort of derail FERC orders than I've seen in the past," said Dennis. And Democrats are also growing increasingly frustrated by a Republican-dominated FERC. After losing Democrat-appointed Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur in August, the commission was left with a 2-1 Republican-appointee majority, soon to be 3-1 with the recent appointment of James Danly. Democrats last week decried his confirmation as a sign of an increasingly politicized FERC.

The proposed amendment would have prohibited FERC from having a more than one member majority vote. "It is interesting to me that Congress is actively considering issues of political balance at FERC," said Dennis. "It's a recognition that … Congress has always prized political balance and independence at FERC..."

Though there hasn't been any public discussions on the House's interest in including a FERC amendment, "having ... amendment language already out there in the Senate will probably up the chances that we see similar attempts in the house," said Dennis

"There's usually bicameral interest in these issues. So I certainly wouldn't be surprised," AEE Director Dylan Reed told Utility Dive...

Read the entire UD piece here. 

Topics: AEE In The News