Bill Summary & Status for the 106th Congress


Sponsor: Sen Thomas, Craig(introduced 3/3/1999)
Latest Major Action: 4/27/2000 Senate committee/subcommittee actions: Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearings held. Hearings printed: S.Hrg. 106-254, pt.2.
Title: A bill to benefit consumers by promoting competition in the electric power industry, and for other purposes.
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TITLE(S):  (italics indicate a title for a portion of a bill)
STATUS: (color indicates Senate actions) (Floor Actions/Congressional Record Page References)
Read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Referred to Subcommittee on Energy Research and Development.
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearings held.
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearings held.
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearings held. Hearings printed: S.Hrg. 106-254, pt.2.
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearings held. Hearings printed: S.Hrg. 106-254, pt.2.
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearings held. Hearings printed: S.Hrg. 106-254, pt.2.








Electric Utility Restructuring Empowerment and Competitiveness Act of 1999 - Amends the Federal Power Act to prescribe parameters within which a State may: (1) exercise jurisdiction over retail electric supply or distribution service provided to retail customers within its borders; (2) establish and enforce electric energy performance standards; (3) exercise authority over retail transactions (including the imposition of surcharges); and (4) require electric energy suppliers to provide wholesale and retail reciprocity with respect to open, nondiscriminatory transmission access and local distribution access.

(Sec. 3) Provides that the purchase of electricity for ultimate consumption by either a Federal entity or mixed-ownership government corporation shall be subject to the laws of the State in which such consumption occurs with respect to the choice of supplier and other conditions of the purchase.

Retains State prerogative to require electricity retailers to assist in providing universal service.

(Sec. 4) Removes wholesale sales of electric energy from Federal regulatory purview. Retains State authority over retail electric energy sales.

Grants the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jurisdiction over wholesale electric transmission services.

(Sec. 5) Instructs the Inspector General of the Department of the Treasury to report to Congress regarding the impact of specified tax provisions upon the promotion of a competitive retail electricity market.

(Sec. 6) Amends the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to exempt an electric utility beginning commercial operation after the date of enactment of this Act from the requirement to enter into a new contract or obligation to purchase or sell electric energy or capacity pursuant to the provisions governing cogeneration and small power production.

(Sec. 7) Repeals the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935.

Prescribes procedural guidelines for both FERC and State access to records of a holding company of a public utility or natural gas company (including subsidiaries, associates, and affiliates).

Instructs FERC to promulgate a final rule to exempt specified holding companies from such access requirements. Requires FERC to exempt any person or transaction from such access requirements if it finds that regulation of such person or transaction is irrelevant to the jurisdictional rates of a public utility company.

Retains the jurisdiction of FERC and State commissions to determine whether a public utility company may recover in rates any costs of affiliate transactions.

Declares specified provisions of this Act inapplicable to: (1) the United States; (2) a State or its political subdivision; and (3) a foreign governmental authority not operating in the United States.

Grants FERC certain Federal Power Act enforcement powers.

Transfers from the Securities and Exchange Commission to FERC all books and records that relate primarily to the functions vested in FERC by this Act.

Amends the Federal Power Act to repeal its conflict of jurisdiction guidelines.

Authorizes appropriations.

(Sec. 8) Amends the Federal Power Act (FPA) to confer jurisdiction upon FERC over the electric reliability organization (ERO) (established by this Act), affiliated regional reliability entities, all system operators, and all bulk-power system users for purposes of approving organization standards and enforcing FPA compliance.

Authorizes the North American Electric Reliability Council and its member Regional Reliability Councils to submit to FERC any proposed mandatory reliability standard, guidance, or practice. Prescribes the FERC review and approval process.

Directs FERC to promulgate regulations governing the designation of an ERO. Prescribes procedural guidelines governing: (1) applications and designations for ERO status; and (2) modification of ERO standards.

Requires each bulk power system user to comply with such standards.

Requires the ERO to take all appropriate steps to gain recognition by the governments of, and the industry in, Canada and Mexico. Requires the United States to use its best efforts to enter into agreements with such governments to provide for: (1) compliance with ERO standards; and (2) ERO efficacy in implementing its mission and responsibilities.

Sets forth procedural guidelines for: (1) changes in ERO procedures, governance, or funding; (2) delegations of authority; (3) mandatory ERO membership for each system operator; (4) ERO disciplinary actions against a bulk-power system user; and (5) FERC compliance orders.

Requires the ERO to conduct periodic assessments of the reliability and adequacy of the interconnected bulk-power system in North America and to report thereon to the Secretary of Energy and to FERC.

Provides for the assessment and recovery by the ERO and each affiliated regional reliability entity of certain implementation and enforcement costs.

Shields from antitrust liability certain activities undertaken by either the ERO or an affiliated regional reliability entity.

Directs the Secretary of Energy to establish on the petition of the Governors of two-thirds of the States within a region that have more than one-half of their electrical loads served within the region, a regional advisory body to advise FERC, the ERO, or an affiliated regional entity with respect to governance and proposed standards and fees.