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News Release
Commission Opposes Proposal To Let California Ban Energy Exports
April 24, 2001 (2001 - 018)
Contacts:  Ron Eachus, Chairman, 503 378-6611; Roger Hamilton, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Joan H. Smith, Commissioner, 503 378-6611; Bob Valdez, Public Information Officer, 503 378-8962
Salem, OR – The Oregon Public Utility Commission is opposing a California proposal to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that would give California the ability to prohibit the export of power from California to other Northwest states during potential shortages.
The proposal is part of a Market Stabilization Plan from the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO), which oversees the California electric distribution grid.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will consider the proposal Wednesday, April 25, 2001 in Washington, D.C.
"First they insisted on the federal government ordering Northwest utilities to import into California, and now they want to prohibit exports to us," Commission Chairman Ron Eachus said. "They’re Balkanizing the Western market, and it could harm both California and the Northwest by inhibiting agreements based on the exchange of energy."
Commissioner Roger Hamilton said, "Electricity trading between the Northwest and California has served both regions well over many decades. This proposal threatens an historical daily and seasonal exchange that is economically efficient for all and just plain neighborly."
In a letter to FERC, the Oregon Public Utility Commission says such action would punish out-of-state utilities, which have planned prudently and entered into bilateral contracts with California generating facilities, by breaching their contracts whenever it suspects a potential "emergency."
"In these unprecedented times of west-wide resource scarcity, we must reject policies that increase market uncertainty and restrain trade."
In addition, the Commission noted the proposal may result in an actual decrease in power available to California if non-California utilities and marketers refrain from making energy exchange transactions for fear that energy may not be returned.
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