FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 18, 2022
ICYMI: U.S. Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice Urge FERC to Preserve Robust Competitive Wholesale Electricity Markets
ICYMI – In a joint comment submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in response to a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) on transmission planning, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urged FERC not to restore a right of first refusal (ROFR).
In their filing, the DOJ and FTC states that the reinstatement of a ROFR would block competitors and increase costs for consumers. The comment cites examples where competition has led to lower costs and innovation. This position was endorsed unanimously by the FTC Commission with a 5-0 vote.
Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice Press Release:
The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission a joint comment urging it not to restore a right of first refusal that would enable incumbent electricity transmission owners to block competitors from bidding to design, construct, and own certain new interstate transmission facilities.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is considering reinstating the right of first refusal, or ROFR – which was eliminated in certain instances in 2011 – as long as incumbent transmission owners agree to a joint ownership structure with one or more unaffiliated, non-incumbent partners. FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on April 21, 2022.
“Competition is still the best way to ensure that our electric grid is built out in a way that lowers rates, increases innovation, and improves sustainability and resiliency,” said Director of the Office of Policy Planning Elizabeth Wilkins. “Granting a right of first refusal for transmission upgrade proposals to incumbent monopoly electricity providers without first exhausting procompetitive alternatives ill serves electricity customers.”
The joint FTC-DOJ comment addresses the benefits and importance of competition and new entry for the design and construction of interstate electric transmission facilities. These facilities are necessary to ensure robust wholesale electricity markets and interconnecting renewable generation facilities. The comment notes that when FERC eliminated the ROFR under certain circumstances in 2011, it recognized the benefits to consumers of having competition for transmission design and construction. The comment urges FERC not to abandon competition, and it cites examples of where competition for transmission design and construction has resulted in lower costs and innovation.
You can read the full filing here.
About the Electricity Transmission Competition Coalition
The Electricity Transmission Competition Coalition (ETCC) is a broad-based, nation-wide coalition committed to increasing competition in America’s electricity transmission infrastructure. We advocate for common-sense policies and solutions that result in competitively priced transmission projects, which reduce energy costs for all ratepayers – from large manufacturers to residential consumers. The ETCC represents a diverse group of more than 70 companies and organizations from all 50 states, including manufacturing groups, retail electric consumers, state consumer advocates, public power representatives, think tanks, and non-incumbent transmission developers.
For more information, visit: www.electricitytransmissioncompetitioncoalition.org.