Summary: H.R.2944 — 106th Congress (1999-2000)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2944. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (09/24/1999)

Electricity Competition and Reliability Act - Title I: Open Transmission Access - Amends the Federal Power Act (FPA) to declare that Federal regulation of electric energy transmission and sales: (1) does not affect State or municipality authority to require either retail electric competition or unbundled transmission and local distribution service for the delivery of electric energy directly to a retail electric consumer; (2) includes the unbundled transmission of electric energy sold at retail; and (3) does not extend to bundled retail sale of electric energy, the local distribution service component of any unbundled retail electric energy sale, or any retail sale component of unbundled retail electric energy sales which are each subject to State regulation.

(Sec. 102) Authorizes the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to: (1) require transmitting utilities to provide transmission services on a nondiscriminatory basis; (2) authorize recovery of stranded costs arising from such requirement; and (3) mandate electric energy transmission directly to retail electric consumers served by local distribution facilities that are subject to open access.

Repeals State regulatory authority over the wholesale transmission or sale of certain electric energy that crosses international borders but is not subsequently transmitted into other States.

(Sec. 103) Sets a deadline by which each transmitting utility shall either establish or join a regional transmission organization. Permits the Federal transmitting utilities (Tennessee Valley Authority, Bonneville Power Administration, Southwestern Power Administration, and Western Area Power Administration) to participate in such an organization. Prescribes standards and other requirements for such organizations. Directs FERC to encourage incentive transmission pricing policies for approved organizations.

(Sec. 104) Grants the consent of Congress to compacts among the States to establish regional transmission siting agencies.

(Sec. 105) Permits FERC to mandate that a transmitting utility expand or improve its facilities for electric energy transmission in interstate commerce, subject to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 and all other applicable State and Federal laws.

Title II: Electric Reliability - Grants FERC regulatory jurisdiction over the electric reliability organization (organized pursuant to this Act), all affiliated regional reliability entities, all system operators, and all users of the bulk-power system for purposes of enforcing compliance with this Act. Sets forth procedural guidelines for establishment of a FERC- approved electric reliability organization (ERO) whose function shall be to develop and enforce standards for an adequate level of reliability of the bulk-power system. Prescribes implementation guidelines.

(Sec. 201) Requires the ERO to take all appropriate steps to gain recognition in Canada and Mexico. Requires the United States to use its best efforts to enter into an agreement with such countries to provide for effective compliance with organization standards.

Mandates system operator membership in such electric reliability organization, and in the appropriate affiliated regional reliability entity. Mandates annual ERO status reports regarding system reliability and adequacy.

Empowers the ERO to take disciplinary and enforcement action.

Title III: Consumer Protection - Directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to promulgate rules governing: (1) mandatory disclosure by any retail or wholesale electric vendor to either electric consumers or purchasers; (2) retail electric energy consumer privacy; and (3) unfair trade practices in connection with retail consumer selection of a retail electric supplier ("slamming") and consent for the purchase of goods and services ("cramming").

(Sec. 304) Expresses the sense of Congress that: (1) every retail electric consumer should have access to electric energy at reasonable and affordable rates; and (2) the States should ensure that retail electric competition does not result in the loss of service to rural, residential, or low-income consumers.

Title IV: Mergers - Amends the FPA to subject to FERC approval electric company mergers and disposition of properties (including a holding company in a holding company system that includes an electric utility company).

(Sec. 402) Amends the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to repeal the requirement that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission forward license applications for certain utilization or production facilities to the Attorney General for antitrust review.

Title V: Promoting Competition - Subtitle A: Retail Reciprocity - Amends the Federal Power Act to declare that sales by retail electric energy suppliers (including suppliers located in a foreign country that is a signatory to the North American Free Trade Agreement) are subject to open access (retail reciprocity).

Subtitle B: Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 - Repeals the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935.

(Sec. 513) Prescribes procedural guidelines for both FERC and State access to records of a public utility or natural gas holding company (including associates and affiliates).

(Sec. 515) Instructs FERC to promulgate a final rule to exempt specified holding companies from such access requirements. Requires FERC to exempt any person or transaction from such access requirements if it finds that regulation of such person or transaction is irrelevant to the jurisdictional rates of a public utility or natural gas company.

(Sec. 516) Retains the jurisdiction of FERC and State commissions to determine whether a public utility company or natural gas company may recover in rates certain costs of an associate company.

(Sec. 517) Declares this Act inapplicable to: (1) the United States; (2) a State or its political subdivision; and (3) a foreign governmental authority not operating in the United States.

(Sec. 519) Grants FERC certain FPA enforcement powers.

(Sec. 522) Transfers from the Securities and Exchange Commission to FERC all books and records that relate primarily to the functions vested in FERC by this Act.

(Sec. 524) Amends the FPA to repeal its conflict of jurisdiction guidelines.

Subtitle C: Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 - Amends the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) to declare that, upon enactment of this Act, no electric utility shall be required to enter into a new contract or obligation to purchase or sell electric energy or capacity pursuant to PURPA provisions governing cogeneration and small power production.

(Sec. 532) Directs FERC to promulgate and enforce regulations to assure that no utility shall be required to absorb the costs associated with electric energy or capacity purchases from a qualifying facility executed prior to enactment of this Act (thus assuring such utilities recovery of all costs associated with such purchases). Provides that such regulations shall be treated as a rule enforceable under the FPA.

Subtitle D: Additional Provisions Promoting Competition - Permits acquisition of retail electric energy on an aggregate basis by a group of retail electric consumers, or any entity acting on behalf of such group, if the group is served by local distribution companies whose facilities are subject to open access.

(Sec. 542) Requires a local distribution company to allow its retail electric consumers who are certain small-sized power generation facilities to interconnect with its facilities.

Title VI: Federal Electric Utilities - Subtitle A: Tennessee Valley Authority - Amends the FPA to repeal: (1) hearing, notice and review procedures relating to interconnection or wheeling orders that result in electric power sales or delivery outside the Tennessee Valley Region; and (2) guidelines governing equitability within territory restricted electric systems (transmission within the Tennessee Valley Region).

(Sec. 602) Amends the Tennessee Valley Authority Act of 1933 to repeal restrictions placed upon the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to sell or deliver power beyond the area for which it was the primary source of power on July 1, 1957.

(Sec. 603) Specifies circumstances under which TVA may: (1) sell electric power at retail; and (2) sell excess electric power at wholesale for use outside the Tennessee Valley Region.

(Sec. 605) Mandates that TVA and its distributors renegotiate existing long-term contracts with respect to: (1) remaining term; (2) length of termination notice; (3) amount of electric energy that distributors may purchase from non-TVA suppliers, including access to the TVA transmission system; and (4) stranded costs recovery.

(Sec. 606) Subjects TVA transmission and local distribution of electric power to FPA jurisdiction to the same extent as a public utility transmission of electric power in interstate commerce is subject to such jurisdiction.

(Sec. 607) Permits a distributor to elect to avoid certain TVA regulatory authority regarding certain future wholesale sales of electric power by the TVA.

Amends PURPA to redefine "State regulatory authority" so as to remove TVA as a State agency with ratemaking authority over sales of electric energy by any electric utility.

Replaces TVA regulatory authority over distributors with that of the distributor's own governing body.

(Sec. 608) Prescribes procedural guidelines for FERC approval of TVA plans for recovery of its stranded costs. Bars TVA use of such recovered proceeds to pay for additions to TVA's generating capacity.

Mandates that the annual TVA management report to Congress include: (1) long-range financial plans; (2) source of funds used for TVA capacity additions; and (3) reduction of publicly-held TVA debt.

(Sec. 609) Subjects the TVA to Federal antitrust jurisdiction.

Subtitle B: Bonneville Power Administration - Subjects to the regulatory purview of the FPA the Bonneville Transmission System (the System), including the transmission of electric energy and the provision of necessary associated services over such System.

(Sec. 623) Prescribes procedural guidelines for FERC approval of proposals initiated by the Bonneville Administrator (Administrator) to place a surcharge on transmission rates to meet certain statutory cost recovery requirements.

(Sec. 624) Bars the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) from selling electric energy or capacity to any retail electric consumer that was not under contract for the purchase of electric energy on October 1, 1998.

(Sec. 625) Amends the Pacific Northwest Electric Power Planning and Conservation Act to restrict the acquisition of new major BPA generating resources to: (1) FERC determination of customer payment-in-full for such resources; and (2) BPA determination that no surcharge will be required in connection with such acquisition.

(Sec. 626) Subjects the BPA to Federal antitrust jurisdiction.

Subtitle C: Other Power Marketing Administrations - Mandates that rates and charges made by each Federal power marketing administration (PMA) shall be the lowest possible that will recover all costs incurred by the United States for the production of electric energy sold by such PMAs. Defines PMAs, under this subtitle, to mean the Western Area Power Administration, the Southwestern Power Administration, and the Southeastern Power Administration.

Grants FERC modification powers with respect to proposed rates submitted by any PMA, including terms and conditions of sale.

(Sec. 633) Subjects PMA transmission of electric energy to FPA regulatory jurisdiction.

(Sec. 634) Directs FERC to promulgate guidelines governing the accounting principles and requirements of the PMAs, including compliance and administrative reconciliation.

(Sec. 635) Subjects each PMA to Federal antitrust laws with respect to sales of electric energy and capacity and the operation of its transmission system.

Title VII: Environmental Provisions - Amends the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to direct the Secretary of Energy to make incentive payments to the owner or operator of a qualified renewable energy facility for electric energy generated and sold. Prescribes implementation guidelines.

(Sec. 702) Requires each retail electric supplier to make net metering service available upon request to a retail electric consumer served or solicited by such supplier.

Authorizes State imposition of: (1) additional requirements; and (2) a cap limiting the amount of net metering available in the State. Retains State authority to require a retail electric supplier to make net metering service available to a retail electric consumer.

Title VIII: Provisions Relating to Internal Revenue Code - Amends the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) to include among the sources of allowable income received or accrued by tax-exempt mutual or cooperative electric companies any revenues received from non-members for qualified open access activities.

(Sec. 802) Amends the IRC, with respect to tax-exempt bond financing of certain electric facilities, to define "private business use" to exclude open access transactions with respect to an electric output facility owned by a governmental unit. Permits certain bond issuers to make an irrevocable election to terminate certain tax-exempt financing for electric output facilities.

(Sec. 803) Revises IRC rules for nuclear decommissioning costs to increase the amount permitted to be paid into the Nuclear Decommissioning Reserve Fund.

(Sec. 804) Revises prescriptions governing renewable energy tax credits to: (1) expand the definition of qualified facility to include a facility using wind to produce electricity; and (2) deny a credit against tax for electricity sold to utilities under certain contracts.

Title IX: Miscellaneous Provision - Instructs the Secretary of Energy to report to Congress on the extent to which actions taken by the States have removed regulatory and statutory barriers to interstate commerce in electric energy.