First Step Taken towards Federal Electricity Deregulation

By White, Melissa | Nation's Cities Weekly, November 8, 1999 | Go to article overview

First Step Taken towards Federal Electricity Deregulation


White, Melissa, Nation's Cities Weekly


Both the House Commerce Committee and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee have indicated they will make federal electricity deregulation a priority next year. The Senate committee plans to have a series of hearings on the issue early in 2000.

In a move that sets the stage for action on electric deregulation next year, the House Commerce Energy and Power Subcommittee approved the Electricity Competition and Reliability Act of 1999 (H.R. 2944) on October 27. The legislation was drafted by Subcommittee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Tex.), and passed by a vote of 17-11, which was a larger margin than expeCted. In a press release, Representative Barton said, "The stage is now set for rapid committee action in the spring and I will help Chairman Bliley craft a strong bill for passage at the committee level."

Barton introduced his legislation in September and has been working with other members of the committee to come to a consensus on a federal restructuring plan. This is a difficult task, as the members have very different views, mostly regional differences, on how the legislation should look. House Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley (R-Va.) has indicated he will probably revamp the Barton bill before moving it forward.

As Congress continues to debate its appropriate role in the deregulation of electricity, over 20 states have already enacted deregulation legislation. …

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