FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 5, 2022
Senators Heinrich and Lee Urge FERC to Embrace Electricity Transmission Competition
WASHINGTON – In a letter to the Commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Senator Michael Lee (R-UT) urged the regulator’s five commissioners to embrace electricity transmission competition and abandon the right of first refusal (ROFR) proposals included in its recent notice of proposed transmission planning rulemaking (NOPR).
The bipartisan Senate letter opposing provisions in the FERC NOPR follows an outpouring of filings from a broad and diverse set of stakeholders registering concerns with the proposal. Over 150 entities, including federal agencies, state commissions, trade associations, and consumer groups, have filed comments with FERC.
The letter reads in part:
“We strongly encourage FERC to pursue these transmission reforms in a manner that uses an approach that fosters market competition for high-voltage transmission projects to the greatest extent possible. This will help lower the cost of transmission development and will help ensure that electricity prices remain relatively more affordable for consumers. We urge you to abandon the NOPR’s ROFR proposals as you proceed to a Final Rule in this proceeding, and to reaffirm the Commission’s commitment to transmission competition that will deliver tangible benefits for the Nation and for consumers for decades to come.”
Electricity Transmission Competition Coalition Chairman Paul Cicio welcomed the Senators’ letter. “What the letter from Senators Heinrich and Lee makes clear – combined with the overwhelming opposition to the ROFR during the comment period – is that FERC does not have the record to support reinstating federal ROFRs and to retreat from requiring transmission competition,” Cicio said. “Transmission competition is the ultimate cost containment mechanism to fight inflation and higher consumer costs.”
Robbie Diamond, SAFE’s founder, President and CEO, noted, “America will need large amounts of clean, resilient, reliable, and secure energy to reindustrialize America and restore critical supply chains to compete with China. Without substantially more electric transmission lines this will not be possible, and market competition is essential to getting such lines built affordably. SAFE concurs with the points in the Senators’ letter and adds its voice to urging FERC to remove the ROFR proposals as it finalizes its much-needed transmission reform rulemaking. We need to have good old-fashioned market competition to build needed transmission.”
The Electricity Transmission Competition Coalition, a coalition of more than 80 diverse consumer organizations, has called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to require transmission competition for projects that are 100 kV or larger, and fulfill its mandate to provide affordable and reliable energy to households and businesses.
You can read the full letter 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.
SAFE unites prominent military and business leaders to develop and advocate for policies that improve America’s energy security by significantly curtailing our dependence on oil and promoting responsible use of our domestic energy resources.