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. District Court Finds Filed Rate Doctrine also Applies to Market-Based Rates in Natural Gas Markets

On April 8, 2005, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada found that the filed rate doctrine prohibited federal and state antitrust and unfair competition claims against sellers of natural gas. In In Re W. States Wholesale Natural Gas Antitrust Litig., the Court affirmed FERC's exclusive authority to determine the reasonableness of wholesale natural gas prices under the Natural Gas Act, even in the context of a price-deregulated natural gas market. The court's decision joins other recent legal decisions protecting the price expectations of market-based sellers of both natural gas...

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...

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...

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...

Pages