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LARGE PUBLIC POWER COUNCIL MAKES PROPOSAL TO FERC

 WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- A group representing 18 of the nation's largest public power organizations today urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to expand access to electric transmission lines by authorizing creation of regional transmission groups (RTGs) that would coordinate planning and establish dispute resolution procedures.
 Richard M. Flynn, chairman of the Large Public Power Council (LPPC), said, "This approach will bring consumers the economic benefits of increased competition in the electric utility industry while avoiding the delays and costs of a mandatory access program."
 Flynn is also chairman of the New York Power Authority, an LPPC member. Under his direction, the council developed an RTG plan that became the basis for a consensus proposal adopted last year by various electric utility organizations and other groups.
 In a statement responding to a FERC request for comments on the proposal, the LPPC asked the commission to authorize establishment of RTGs through administrative action.
 "It is time for FERC to do everything possible to implement the RTG consensus proposal to the maximum extent possible," the statement, submitted by Flynn, said.
 "What the LPPC is looking for," Flynn said in separate comments, "is a plan that provides for voluntary access while also ensuring ultimate FERC oversight. The utility industry should be given the chance to solve this problem, but it's not asking for a blank check."
 Flynn in 1989 and 1990 presided over development of an LPPC plan for voluntary transmission organizations and use of binding arbitration to resolve disputes on access and pricing. He then worked to build support in the utility industry for the proposal, which evolved into the RTG approach.
 The consensus was endorsed, after extensive negotiation, by LPPC, the Edison Electric Institute, the American Public Power Association, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Transmission Access Policy Study Group, the Electric Generation Association and others, including consumer and environmental groups. However, it was received by Congress too late for inclusion in 1992 energy legislation that authorized FERC to mandate transmission access under certain conditions.
 The LPPC said the RTG proposal provides "the best option" for meeting the new law's goal of efficient and reliable bulk power markets. It said resolution of disputes within an RTG "will help ensure that the appropriate technical expertise is applied to the problem, and that all affected RTG participants have input in the resolution. Administrative litigation before FERC is a far less desirable way to treat these issues."
 The Council asked FERC to adopt regulations to forestall the possibility of litigation on each individual RTG proposal. In addition, it said FERC rules or orders on RTGs should provide for flexibility in addressing interregional transmission issues, encourage participation by federal power marketing agencies, include findings that would provide a basis for immunity from antitrust laws and affirm that the actions are not intended to preempt valid state law.
 The consensus proposal calls on FERC to approve an RTG when it:
 --Provides large enough membership to assure reliable and efficient service.
 --Offers membership to all qualified entities.
 --Provides transmission services to all members and allows for expansion of capacity as needed.
 --Coordinates transmission planning.
 --Provides fair treatment for all members.
 --Provides for a fair dispute resolution process.
 --Requires that all rates, charges, terms and conditions be consistent with FERC regulations.
 Flynn said the proposal "should meet the needs of both the haves' who own transmission lines and the have nots' who depend on access to others' facilities."
 -0- 1/25/93
 /CONTACT: Jack Murphy of New York Power Authority, 212-468-6323/


CO: Large Public Power Council ST: IN: UTI SU:

WB -- NY089 -- 8687 01/25/93 16:09 EST
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Date:Jan 25, 1993
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