Markey, Kennedy Respond To Results Of New England Electricity Capacity Auction
Washington, DC – With their constituents already paying the highest energy rates in the continental United States, Congressman Joe Kennedy III and Senator Edward J. Markey again raised concerns about costs, specifically ISO-NE’s 10th Forward Capacity Auction (FCA10) and its impact on New England consumers. While the results of FCA10 ensure reliable electricity, Kennedy and Markey continue to call on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to carefully review the results and consider their impact on consumers. After the regulators deadlocked when reviewing the rates from FCA8 which tripled future capacity rates in 2014, the lawmakers led their New England colleagues in urging the Commission to carefully examine the capacity shortfall.
"This week’s results from the latest Forward Capacity Auction for electrical generation in New England show that once again, our region’s ratepayers are going to be asked to pay billions of dollars a year on top of electricity prices that are already some of the highest in the country,” said Senator Edward J. Markey. “I continue to have serious concerns about the benefits of these auctions for consumers in light of the incredible costs. I am also concerned whether these auctions are structured in a way that prevents undo market influence or manipulation, and whether these rates are just and reasonable. We need the independent Government Accountability Office to review these auctions, as I have requested, to evaluate whether they are working as intended and whether our New England ratepayers are properly protected.
“At a time when there is still a vacancy on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which will be asked to approve the results from this auction, it underscores the need to enact legislation that I have introduced with Congressman Kennedy to ensure that ratepayers have an ability to challenge results when FERC deadlocks,”Senator Markey continued. “I commend Congressman Kennedy for his continued outstanding work and leadership in fighting to protect ratepayers in Massachusetts and across New England and look forward to continuing to work with him to address these important issues going forward.”
“While a slight decrease in rates is encouraging, consumers are still left paying billions of dollars to foot the bill of a system that fails to incent cost competitive energy development,” said Congressman Joe Kennedy III. “Once again, these rates will be reviewed by less than a full cadre of regulators undermining their ability to determine whether the rates are just and reasonable and underscoring the urgency in passing our Fair RATES Act. With Senator Markey’s leadership in the Senate, we will continue to demand consumers have a voice in the process that sets their energy bills.”
Both Congressman Kennedy and Senator Markey introduced the Fair Ratepayer, Accountability, Transparency and Efficiency Standards (RATES) Act, which would ensure that consumers can always have a mechanism to appeal energy rate changes filed with FERC. Earlier today, Kennedy’s Fair RATES Act unanimously passed the Energy and Power Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee. The lawmakers also recently wrote a letter to President Obama highlighting the vacancy at FERC that limits the commission’s ability to rule whether rates are just and reasonable.