LPPC Logo Press Release

LPPC Tells House Committee
     Largent-Markey is Right on Private Use

For Immediate Release:
     July 1, 1999
     Sharon Soltero
     Communications Task Force
     Phone: (402) 563-5811

LPPC Tells House Committee Largent-Markey is Right on Private Use
Warns that on FERC Jurisdiction and Retail Competition Mandates,
Federal Government Should Act Only Where Appropriate

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 1 -- The Largent-Markey bill (H.R. 2050, the Electric Consumers' Power To Choose Act of 1999) is the "right solution" for the private use issue, John Tiencken, Jr. of the Large Public Power Council (LPPC) told the House Commerce Committee’s Energy and Power Subcommittee today. However, he cautioned that with respect to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) jurisdiction over mandates for transmission and retail competition, the Committee needs to "ensure that the federal government acts only where it is necessary and appropriate."

Current private use restrictions, mandated before electricity competition was considered, form a considerable barrier to open competition and customer choice. Tiencken rejected the notion that, under these restrictions, public power customers should choose between being fenced in — and denied the right to choose — or having their rates artificially increased.

Specifically, Tiencken praised the private use fix included in H.R. 2050, the restructuring bill recently introduced by Congressmen Steve Largent (R-OK) and Edward Markey (D-MA). "The good news," he said, "is that the Congress is currently considering a proposal that the LPPC believes is the right solution to the private use issue."

Tiencken was less optimistic, however, about proposals under consideration that give FERC jurisdiction over all transmission rates, terms, and conditions. The proposals, he said, call for an unnecessary layer of regulation, and "fail to recognize the fundamental difference between a nonprofit, government-owned entity whose rates are set by elected officials and a profit-making entity whose rates are set by private individuals." Tiencken suggested that FERC be given the authority to review public power open-access tariffs to assure they meet the test of open access and comparability, but that public entities should not be required to undergo the same FERC approval process for transmission rates as profit-making entities.

Tiencken was also skeptical of the proposed "flexible" mandate put forth in the Clinton Administration and Largent-Markey proposals. "The LPPC recognizes that a flexible mandate is an improvement over a hard mandate, but remains concerned that this form of mandate will create uncertainty and could invite legal challenges of local decisions," Tiencken stated.


The Large Public Power Council (LPPC) is an association of the nation's 21 largest public power utilities. It serves millions of customers in some of the largest and fastest-growing areas of the country and counts some of America's biggest corporations among its clients.  T. Graham Edwards is president and CEO of Santee Cooper, South Carolina's state-owned electric and water utility.

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