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Mexican High Court Rejects Congressional Auditors' Challenge to Private Generation and Sales of Power

Private power south of the border narrowly escaped in April a congressional audit committee invalidating as unconstitutional their generation and sale of power to the national electricity monopoly, the Comisión Federal de Electricidad ("CFE"). At the request of Mexican President Vicente Fox, the Mexican Supreme Court by a 6-to-5 vote ruled that the audit committee of the opposition-dominated Congress did not have authority to rule on the constitutionality of the power purchase contracts between CFE and private generators. Had the high court affirmed the audit committee and ruled against...

California Assembly Again Considers Retail Choice for Large Customers

The California State Assembly is considering the possibility of returning retail choice to the state, after its suspension during the 2000-2001 energy crisis. Assembly Bill 1704 ("AB 1704"), introduced by Assemblyman Keith Richman (R-Granada Hills), would establish a core/non-core retail market in California. Under the proposal, utility customers who use more than 200 KW ("non-core" customers) could choose either to take service from direct-access providers or remain with their investor-owned utility, while individual and small commercial customers would continue receiving service from the...

U.S. Supreme Court Will Not Review Decision Prohibiting Courts from Ruling on Wholesale Power Prices

Fallout from the 2000-2001 western energy crisis persisted in April. In a case involving one of the relatively smaller claims to arise out of the crisis, on April 18, 2005, the US Supreme Court denied the petition of the State of California for review of a lower court ruling that only FERC can decide whether the state was unlawfully double-billed for wholesale power. In a claim filed in state court in 2002, California alleged that certain generators violated the state's unfair business competition laws by double-billing the California Independent System Operator ("CAISO") over $100 million...

FERC Asks for Comments on the Roles of RTOs and ISOs in Establishing Reference Prices for Mitigation

On April 1, 2005, FERC invited comments on the roles of Regional Transmission Organizations ("RTO"), Independent System Operators ("ISO"), or their market monitors in establishing reference prices to be used to lower or "mitigate" wholesale power prices deemed to be non-competitive. Public comments were due to FERC by May 2, 2005. Several RTOs and ISOs "• including the New York ISO, ISO-New England, California ISO, and the Midwest ISO "• use "conduct and impact" tests in their wholesale day-ahead and real-time electricity markets to determine whether to apply mitigation to assure just and...