Commissioner Sarah Hofmann of the Vermont Public Service Board represented the National Council at the FERC Technical Conference held in Washington DC on May 1 on how wholesale markets can accommodate state policy preferences. In keeping with the collaborative approaches exemplified by the National Council, Cmr. Hofmann’s comments focused on methods that leverage dialogue between states and federal decision-makers, rather than directly focusing on legislation or litigation as pathways to deal with jurisdictional simultaneity.
The National Council on Electricity Policy will be a participant in the upcoming FERC Technical Conference on May 1. The technical Conference will address the interface between wholesale markets and state policy preferences. NCEP Executive Committee member Commissioner Sarah Hofmann of the Vermont Public Service Board will provide insights into the state/federal jurisdictional issues that have been explored by the NCEP since April 2016 in two workshops:
- Our April, 2016, Blurred Lines: State and Federal Jurisdiction in the Power Sector. NCEP members and speakers addressed “simultaneity,” or ambiguous, overlapping, and sometimes uncoordinated actions related to state and federal jurisdictional boundaries in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity; and
- In January 2017 we convened an an Experts Roundtable on valuing baseload electricity resources, to explore the impacts of our nation’s changing generation fleet on how we price electricity, and the options for state officials to create just and reasonable rates given these changes.
These dialogues have led to the conclusion that where ovelaps and conflict between state and federal action exists, the path to resolution that leads through the courts should not be a first resort. Examples like Hughes v Talen Energy Marketing and the Oneok and EPSA cases highlight how narrow a court-derived decision can be, leaving unresolved ambiguity in areas not considered by the courts. Our conversations have suggested better outcomes come from approaches that resolve conflict, including joint explorations, collaboratives similar to the FERC/NARUC Collaborative on Demand Response and Competitive Procurement, and even the FERC May 1 technical conference. These types of processes may yield less ambiguity, better common effort, and the development of tools that bridge and improve policymaking in the public interest.
We’ve been hard at work recording podcasts – our first explores generation, transmission and distribution with the Honorable Tom Sloan from the Kansas House of Representatives; the second explains why we regulate utilities with Commissioner Paul Kjellander from Idaho. They’re fun to listen to – expect them to be posted within a couple weeks.
The National Council will be hosting a webcast following the DC Circuit decision on the Clean Power Plan. This will be made available to state agency officials only, by registration, via gotowebinar.
More details about the CPP are available at www.naruc.org/cpp. For more information about the webcast, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.