A Strong Message to FERC: Energy Policy Belongs to the States
“Iowans know the unique makeup of our state, and how it differs from other states around the country. The Iowa Utilities Board — people here in Iowa — not an agency in DC, should be in control of Iowa’s retail energy market.”
Such were the words of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds in a public comment submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in response to a petition by the New England Ratepayers Association (NERA) to place net metering under federal jurisdiction.
Governor Reynolds’ expression of concern over such anti-federalist suggestions was only one of many, as policymakers from across the political spectrum, public works commissioners, industry leaders and concerned citizens alike submitted public comments to FERC opposing the petition.
Notable excerpts from the comments include:
“Every state is different, and should continue to have retail authority over net metering – regardless of economics” — GA Public Service Commission Vice Chairman Tim Echols
“The petition filed…invites the Commission to upend FERC precedent, subvert states’ rights and broadly assert federal regulatory authority over retail customers…” — A bipartisan group of 10 Michigan State Senators led by Sen. Tom Barrett
“Moving major policy-setting authority away from state oversight would not only take away transparency and accountability of the process but it would prevent divergent interests from working together on compromises.” — CO State Sen. Kevin Priola
These are just a few of the voices speaking up in favor of energy federalism. The Conservative Energy Network, its state members and allies across the country have filed over 70 comments from 20 states, and are joined by others who oppose this clear violation of states’ rights.
The NERA petition is not only anti-federalist but would also actively do harm to regulatory environments across the country. Granting this petition would drastically expand federal jurisdiction at the expense of state regulatory bodies. Each state has its own unique characteristics as it relates to electricity generation, consumption, and policy. These would all be thrown out of balance by a federal regulatory scheme. As CEO Mark Pischea notes in CEN’s public comment;
“It is our belief that abandoning a federalist approach allowing states to act in the interest of their citizens in favor of a one-size-fits-all national policy would harm the economy, the environment, and consumer choice while only serving to protect monopoly utilities and their shareholder interests.”
For these reasons and others, CEN and its 21 state teams are proud to stand in opposition to this petition and send a strong message that energy policy belongs to the states.