Electricity markets need federal help

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Tuesday April 11, 5:32 pm Eastern Time

Richardson says electricity markets need federal help

WASHINGTON, April 11 (Reuters) - U.S. electricity markets will continue to convulse under the pressure of uneven power market deregulation, causing more brownouts and blackouts this summer unless Congress acts to pass a restructuring bill, Energy Secretary Bill Richardson warned on Tuesday.

Speaking before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Richardson repeated assertions he has made in recent weeks that Congress must move to catch-up with the states in smoothing the way for competition in consumer power markets.

``If Congress fails to act soon, the development of competitive electricity markets will be stunted. And, I fear that an increasing number of Americans will experience the price spikes, blackouts and brownouts that residents of certain regions of the country witnessed during last summer's heat waves,'' Richardson told lawmakers.

Congress is moving at a steady pace to review legislation stuck in committee in both the Senate and the House.

A total of 24 states have already acted to open their power markets to the retail level, but many industry experts think federal action is needed to define numerous issues, like Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority over transmission access, and environmental and consumer measures.

Richardson said he now places the odds of getting a power restructuring bill passed this year at 55 percent to 45 percent in favor of legislation, up from his 50-50 estimate last week.

He said he was encouraged by last week's agreement among a number of ``stakeholders'' on a set of principles for restructuring, and said another such group was expected to act soon, giving lawmakers more understanding of the issues.

``While these groups will need to reach out to other stakeholders as the legislative process moves forward, and I expect them to do so, there is reason to believe that enough consensus will exist to allow Congress to enact a bill this year,'' Richardson said.

He said the six main topics needed in a comprehensive power bill were: improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the interstate transmission system; promoting regional transmission organizations; preventing the abuse of market power; establishing mandatory bulk power reliability standards; ensuring that renewable energy were not left out; and removing federal impediments to the development of competitive wholesale and retail electric markets.

Aside from Richardson, lawmakers pondered whether to seek a comprehensive restructuring bill, or to move on a single bill addressing reliability issues.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Democrat from New Mexico and ranking minority member on the energy panel, said he thinks Congress should at least support a plan like one authored by Sen. Slade Gorton, a Washington Republican, to ensure power reliability.


-- - (x@xxx.com), April 11, 2000


Gorton's also sponsoring a bill that would cause the price of prescription drugs to rise in Canada.

-- viewer (justp@ssing.by), April 11, 2000.

Top off those fuel tanks and don't sell those generators! You may need them this summer. In preparation for y2k we had another well drilled and had a hand pump put on it. Now we are thinking of having an electric pump put in it just to have the extra pressure/water for fires. We live in the national forest in Florida and are experiencing severe drought and lots of fires. This past week end chubby hubby put a rainbird on the roof, "just in case". We are safer than most as we sit in the middle of a meadow, but sparks fly and grass burns. Taz

-- Taz (Tassie123@aol.com), April 12, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ