WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, welcomed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) authority to set rates for an energy-saving practice known as “demand response” when used in organized wholesale markets for electric power.
“Today's decision is a momentous step towards ensuring the regulatory structure is in place to modernize our nation's electric grid, save consumers money, and harness our innovative clean energy potential in America,” said Sen. Heinrich. “Our system of federal regulation of wholesale power generation and transmission was designed for an era that no longer exists. FERC must be able to update its rules to reflect the rapidly evolving grid. Demand response reduces the need for high-cost power during hours of peak demand, and removes barriers to achieving a cleaner, more reliable grid.”
Senator Heinrich, a leader in modernizing the nation's energy infrastructure, introduced legislation in the last Congress to amend the 80-year old Federal Power Act in response to a decision in the federal court of appeals that tried to argue FERC didn't have authority over wholesale markets for demand response. Without this authority, organized wholesale markets, such as those in the East and Midwest, would not be able to ask power consumers voluntarily to reduce demand for power during peak periods in exchange for financial compensation. Senator Heinrich's bill would have simply clarified that FERC had the same authority that the Court confirmed today. With today's decision, the bill is no longer needed.
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