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BROAD GROUP OF ENERGY STAKEHOLDERS ASKS SENATE LEADERS TO OPPOSE BILL THAT WOULD BLOCK TRANSMISSION DEVELOPMENT, REDUCE COMPETITION IN ENERGY MARKETS

Signatories point to pending FERC rule that will support regional agreements, protect consumers from unfair charges, and render legislation unnecessary

WASHINGTON, DC – A group of 84 energy stakeholders, including utilities, manufacturers, transmission, constructors, renewable and other power developers, environmental groups, and a regional transmission organization sent a letter today to U.S. Senate leaders asking for them to oppose a bill introduced by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Bob Corker (R-TN) that unduly restricts the way the costs of new electric transmission lines may be allocated, thereby thwarting construction of new transmission needed to reliably deliver new sources of generation and to foster competition.

While the bill sponsors contend the cost allocation measure is intended to protect customers from being burdened unfairly, the signatories pointed out that the legislation (S. 400) is unnecessary in light of a new rule expected to be finalized soon by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that will prevent those who do not benefit from transmission from paying for it.

The signatories also pointed out that by adopting a single, federally mandated, standardized approach to cost allocation, the legislation would have the far-reaching effect of overturning the consensus regional stakeholder agreements that have already been approved by FERC to support needed transmission investment in their regions. The disruption caused by the reopening of these agreements will further delay and potentially prevent needed transmission projects from moving forward to meet regional customer electricity needs. In turn, thousands of megawatts of electricity – mostly from clean sources such as wind and solar – would likely be blocked from accessing the grid. This is problematic because a number of utilities are currently seeking new sources of clean electricity to meet state standards and to replace older generation plants that are being retired.

To read the letter, click here.

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