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FERC Sides with Public Citizen in Case Challenging Goldman Sachs

Statement of Tyson Slocum, Director, Public Citizen Energy Program

Note: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) late Monday issued an order agreeing with Public Citizen that the private equity fund Goldman Sachs Renewable Power LLC – a private equity shell company created and managed by Goldman Sachs – is affiliated with The Goldman Sachs Group. In March, Public Citizen filed a protest with FERC requesting that the agency deem the private equity fund set up and run by Goldman Sachs to be an affiliate. In its December 2019 application to FERC for permission to trade electricity at market-based rates, Goldman Sachs Renewable Power LLC stated that it was unaffiliated with Goldman Sachs. In several filings with FERC, Public Citizen submitted evidence to show that Goldman Sachs Renewable Power must be designated an affiliate to protect consumers, as well as the public universities and pension funds that have provided billions of capital for the private equity fund. Public Citizen’s protest noted that FERC’s affiliate rules – and not Goldman’s internal firewalls – were the only way to protect consumers and investors from affiliate abuses, particularly considering Goldman Sachs’ record of abusing internal firewalls.

FERC’s order is a victory for transparency and common sense. Goldman Sachs’ assertion that it was not affiliated with Goldman Sachs Renewable Power was untrue, and to its credit, FERC saw the reality after considering the merits of Public Citizen’s investigation and argument. Public Citizen had warned FERC earlier this month that if Goldman Sachs was able to classify its private equity firm as unaffiliated, it would blow a huge loophole into the commission’s anti-manipulation authority. FERC’s decision will help protect both consumers and investors.

Read the filing here. Public Citizen’s other filings related to the case are available here.