KENNEDY INTRODUCES ENERGY BILL TO PROTECT NEW ENGLAND RATEPAYERS
Washington, DC – As New England continues to face the highest energy prices in the United States, Congressman Joe Kennedy III introduced bipartisan legislation today to keep federal energy regulators accountable to ratepayers across the region and the country. By providing a technical fix to the Federal Power Act, the Fair Ratepayer Accountability, Transparency, and Efficiency Standards (Fair RATES) Act will increase transparency in the regulatory process and ensure consumers can legally challenge proposed rate increases.
“As energy rates and electric bills continue to skyrocket across New England, it is more critical than ever that consumers have a voice in this process,” said Congressman Kennedy. “By increasing transparency throughout the system, the Fair RATES Act will allow consumers to hold federal regulators accountable and ensure the prices being set are truly just and reasonable. I thank my colleagues for their support of this bill and look forward to working together to move it through Congress.”
In New England, a portion of energy prices are set several years in advance via an auction process known as ‘forward capacity markets,’ to guarantee there will be enough supply to meet projected demand. The results of these auctions require approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Over the past two years, these so-called ‘capacity payments’ have quadrupled, saddling families and businesses across the region with rising prices for years to come. Kennedy’s bill would fix a technical flaw in the current regulatory process that denies consumers a legal vehicle to dispute rate increases in certain circumstances.
Congressman Kennedy has been a vocal critic of New England’s energy auctions since taking office. Over the past year, he has repeatedly urged FERC to review the entire system, stating: “Forward capacity markets have failed to update or advance our energy grid and it’s consumers who pay the price. As families across New England face record-high energy bills this winter, the auction process risks compounding this pain for years to come.”
Earlier this year, he organized a meeting with the New England Congressional Delegation, then-FERC Chairman Cheryl LaFleur and ISO New England CEO Gordon van Welie to discuss ongoing concerns with the way prices are being set throughout the region.
For Immediate Release:
July 8, 2015
Emily Kaufman (617) 332-3333
Dan Black (202) 225-5931
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