How many public interest groups does it take to change the nation's electicity rate structure?

Scott Nelson is Public Citizen's attorney taking on FERC in federal court

Public Citizen is arguing a huge case today in federal appeals court that could change how the nation is charged for its electricity use.

Since the 1990s, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has been allowing wholesalers to charge market-based rates with disastrous results. (Consider, for example, the 2000-2001 California energy crisis.)

In this case, Public Citizen, along with the Colorado Office of Consumer Counsel and the Public Utility Law Project of New York, is challenging a rule by FERC that allows sellers of wholesale electric power to charge market rates for electricity and to avoid the Federal Power Act’s requirements that rates be just and reasonable and that all changes in rates be filed with FERC before they go into effect.

Public Citizen argues that the rule exceeds FERC’s authority and conflicts with the plain language of the act. In case we needed even more support, the attorneys general of Illinois, Connecticut and Rhode Island joined Public Citizen’s brief challenging the lawfulness of FERC’s market-based-rate regime.

Learn more about the case. And check back to find out how the 9th Circuit judge rules.

9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case that could upend the agency’s market-based rate structure.