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FERC Made Critical Errors When Determining That Electric Rate Policy Deliberations Can be Closed to the Public, Press

Public Citizen Asks for a Rehearing on FERC’s Disastrous Decision

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) committed four errors when it determined that a private electric grid operator, tasked with developing electric rate policies for all of New England, can ban reporters and the public from attending stakeholder meetings, Public Citizen said today in a rehearing request filed with the agency.

The commission ruled in favor of New England Power Pool Participants Committee (NEPOOL) in an April 10 order, determining that the committee could continue to ban non-members from attending its FERC-sanctioned stakeholder meetings where electric rates are designed. The commission said that as non-voting attendees of the meetings, the press and the public would not have an impact on rates, meaning that the policy was beyond the reach of FERC’s jurisdiction.

Public Citizen contends that the agency made four critical errors when making its determination, including that the commission ignored evidence that press and public attendance could alter stakeholder decisions and disregarded a D.C. Circuit Court’s decision that allows for regulation of NEPOOL stakeholder public participation.

“If FERC really thinks this is beyond the scope of its regulatory jurisdiction, then it has created a Frankenstein’s monster,” said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program. “It is absurd and dangerous for FERC to claim that private institutions it invented are now not subject to its regulation. Should FERC’s order stand, it would mean that America’s network of private Regional Transmission Organizations are deregulatory monsters engaged in the privatization of electricity policy making.”

Read the rehearing request here.