Washington (March 8, 2018) – Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed legislation sponsored by Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) designed to ensure that consumers are protected from unjust and unreasonable electric rate increases. Senator Markey’s legislation would ensure that if the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) deadlocks on approving rates, consumers have an ability to appeal such a decision. Under current law, if FERC splits in a 2-2 vote because of a vacancy, rate changes go into effect without any opportunity to challenge those decisions. That is the situation in which consumers in New England found themselves in 2014 when FERC split on approving a Forward Capacity Auction that resulted in a $2 billion increase for the region’s consumers.
“In baseball, a tie goes to the runner and my legislation would ensure that when it comes to electricity rates, a tie doesn’t go against the consumer,” said Senator Markey. “We must ensure that ratepayers are protected from unjust and unreasonable increases in electricity rates. I thank Senators Murkowski and Cantwell for working with me to move this legislation forward.”
The Fair RATES Act (S. 186) was approved by voice vote in committee. Companion legislation authored by Representative Joe Kennedy III (MA-09) passed the House of Representatives in January 2017.