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Tony Clark: FERC should stay out of state regulatory proceedings

From the September 24, 2012 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published September 24, 2012

By Robert Varela
Editorial Director

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission "should discourage parties from seeking FERC intervention in pending state proceedings in all but the most extraordinary circumstances," new Commissioner Tony Clark said in his first dissent. He dissented from a Sept. 20 order granting a request for a declaratory order finding that a proposal by Idaho Power, if approved by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, would be inconsistent with FERC rules on payments to qualifying facilities (e.g., renewable resources) under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act.

"By this order, the commission is allowing one party in a state proceeding to cherry-pick a single issue in a larger, ongoing case," Clark said. "By putting its thumb on the scale prior to the state commission even finishing its work, we could inhibit the parties’ willingness, or the Idaho commission’s ability, to come to a flexible, tailored accommodation that may meet the concerns of multiple parties—most important, Idaho consumers." While state regulators may not be able to resolve such disputes, "untimely FERC intervention can limit a state’s ability to do so," he said.




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- Gary Nieborsky - Think of it as the Supreme Court weighing in on a traffic ticket.