Statement By Attorney General Eliot Spitzer Regarding The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's "circuit Breaker" Ruling

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today approved a "circuit breaker" plan that will help guard against price manipulation in New York's wholesale energy market.

This decision provides the New York Independent System Operator, which manages the state's electric power grid, with the ability to help prevent power generators from exercising undue market influence.

My office urged FERC to approve this plan in a filing on May 31. Last week, FERC granted California's request for market mechanisms to protect against unreasonable price increases. My office then filed again with FERC, arguing that New York consumers should be protected to the same degree as California consumers. We noted that with the peak energy demand period fast approaching, the request was imperative.

While I am very pleased by the "circuit breaker" ruling, I want to call again upon FERC to act on another critical issue, namely, granting the NYISO the authority to obtain retroactive refunds for any monies collected through the improper exercise of market power. I urged FERC to take this step in a letter from my office on October 31, 2000 and in another letter last week.

I believe that both the "circuit breaker" and the authority to recover retroactive refunds are necessary to ensure fair operation of the market during its transition to full competition.


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