Time for a New Plan; Energy Bill Should Rein in FERC
Byline: Phil Kent, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
One might be tempted to think that if all the hot air expended in the U.S. Senate this week on energy legislation could be harnessed, it could fuel several power plants. But there will be useful debate on protecting states' rights in the energy field while, at the same time, attempting to halt an increasingly socialistic Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) from rewriting U.S. power grid rules that could ultimately cripple the domestic energy market.
To date the five-member FERC board, led by Chairman Pat Wood, has been working in near-obscurity on plans that affect the pocketbooks and quality of life of every American. But since last spring, more and more national lawmakers have been startled as the board slowly unfolded a restructuring scheme pushing vast federal power over state and local utilities.
Through a so-called standard market design (SMD), FERC claims it will be easier to connect buyers and sellers of electricity as well as to bring down prices and create more reliable service. Hmmmm. Isn't that what some geniuses said they were trying to do in California a few years ago through similar energy "restructuring"? Americans, let alone Californians, know how that flopped as the electrical brown outs and market manipulation emerged.
Concern for America's future overall energy needs is why consumer watchdogs in Congress are trying to rein FERC in. For example, new language proposed for the House-passed energy bill by members of the Senate Energy Committee would block FERC from requiring utilities to join a regional power grid and from proceeding with its unfair market rules.
A bipartisan group of Southern and Western senators - some of whom have engaged in stormy confrontations with Mr. …