With FERC-ordered mitigation measures on wholesale power prices in the western part of the country set to expire later this year, Commission Chairman Pat Wood on Thursday disclosed that he’s traveling to California this week to, among other things, receive assurances that the region’s market rules and infrastructure are on enough of a solid footing that those caps can be lifted when they expire at the end of September.

He made his comments in an appearance before a power industry conference in Washington, DC, sponsored by the Association for Investment Management and Research.

FERC last summer voted to extend its power market mitigation program across the western states 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Sept. 30, 2002, with a two part cost-based formula addressing prices during emergency and non-emergency periods.

Wood is scheduled to testify Friday morning before a field hearing held by Rep. Doug Ose (R-CA) on California market design and ISO issues.

“Part of why I’m going to Sacramento is to make sure that we do have the plan in place for their balanced market rules and their infrastructure to be in a good enough position that we can lift those in September,” Wood said.

During the conference, Wood also said that he was committed to the price caps coming off in September of this year. At the same time, he said that if there needs to be a replacement for them, “it certainly won’t be a price cap that cuts across the whole West.”

“I do look forward to its expiration,” Wood said, referring to the price mitigation out West. He also said that he hopes that “in calming down the market down there, we did allow people some time to regroup and to fix things” that needed fixing.

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