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Group Gives Congress Restructuring To-Do List

Group Gives Congress Restructuring To-Do List

While electric restructuring at the federal level meanders along, a broad group of industry and consumer organizations released a list last week of 23 principles it believes should be included. The group is hoping its efforts might add some urgency to the legislative process.

"This list of principles serves as a guide to members of Congress considering this important legislation," said Bill Paxon, chairman of Americans for Affordable Electricity. "These principles demonstrate that a wide range of stakeholders are cooperating to reach the consensus necessary to move legislation this year."

Investor-owned utilities, public power, national consumer groups, power marketers and industrial consumers came together to identify areas of agreement to keep the legislative process moving. The principles address a variety of issues, and they attempt to clarify the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) authority over interstate transmission.

The House is much further along than the Senate with restructuring legislation. Most hold little hope for passing of restructuring legislation this year as it is an election year. In October, the House Commerce Committee's Energy and Power Subcommittee approved a federal restructuring bill (HR 2944), and the full House Commerce Committee is poised to take on the task of improving the bill and moving it to the House floor. "We are off to a great start this year with [House Commerce Committee] Chairman [Tom] Bliley and the House leadership stating their commitment to getting this bill enacted into law," Paxon said. "Now with the stakeholders' principles, we are one step closer to our goal of a national seamless wholesale electricity market that promotes competition and enhances reliability."

The group told Congress to do the following:

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