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Benefits of ISOs and RTOs "“ ISO-NE Results Show Lower Prices, Increased Investment and Improved Efficiency, Reliability and Environmental Action

In its recently published "Progress of New England's Restructured Electric Industry and Competitive Markets: The Benefits of ISOs and RTOs," ISO-New England ("ISO-NE") lauds the long-term performance of its power market. Since the market's inception in 1999, New England wholesale electricity prices have declined by 5.7 percent, after adjustments for fuel costs, and the fuel-adjusted price decline experienced from 2001-2004 was 11 percent. Also during this time, ISO-NE estimates that more than $9 billion was invested in new power plants, and up to $4 billion was invested in transmission...

FERC Seeks to Rectify Imbalance in OATT with New Rule Giving Lift to Wind

To integrate wind and other intermittent resources energy more completely into wholesale power markets, FERC has proposed a new rule that would relax the imbalance penalties that generators pay under the pro forma open-access transmission tariff ("OATT"). The proposed new generator imbalance service schedule is intended to address the unique characteristics and constraints of intermittent resources such as wind, solar and run-of-river hydro facilities that rely on the weather, and therefore have a limited ability to predict or control their output. Comments on the proposed imbalance rule are...

Kansas Creates Electric Transmission Authority to Ensure that the Lights Stay on in the Sunflower State

Early in April, the Sunflower State followed Wyoming's lead in the creation of a state electricity infrastructure authority by passing the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority Act ("Act") and creating the Kansas Electric Transmission Authority ("Authority"). According to the Act, the Authority is responsible for ensuring the reliable operation of the state's integrated electrical transmission system and facilitating the consumption of the state's energy through improvements in Kansas ' electric infrastructure. The Act permits the Authority to accept federal agency grants for operation, and...

FERC Audits Two Market-Based Rate Sellers "“ Reaction to Ninth Circuit Lockyer Decision Concerning Reporting Requirements for Market-Based Rate Sellers?

FERC announced in April that it would begin auditing power sellers with market-pricing authority for compliance with demanding quarterly reporting requirements. The audits plainly come in response to the dubious court decision in Lockyer v. FERC and signal to all market-price sellers the need to heighten their attention to accurate quarterly reporting both in the past and going forward. Last September, the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled that wholesale power sales under a market-based tariff, if not individually detailed in quarterly filings with FERC, were "pragmatically" sales with...

New England Set to Implement Day-Ahead Demand-Response Market Beginning June 1

The New England Power Pool and the ISO New England finally won FERC approval in April to expand their demand-response bidding beyond real-time to the day-ahead market ¾ the Day-Ahead Load-Response Program or DALRP. This approval joins other recent regulatory recognitions that conservation can often prove the least-cost answer to perceived supply shortages. When the new program goes into effect June 1, a firm-demand New England customer can elect to become a demand resource by registering in one of ISO-NE's load-response programs and then be able to offer demand reduction in the day-ahead...

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...