Overhaul law on power industry – groups to Congress

Jan. 27, 2015

A group of consumers today called on Congress to overhaul the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA), saying the law has failed in providing cheap, adequate and stable electricity to the public.

During the hearing of the House Committee on Energy, the consumer network People Opposed to unWarranted Electricity Rates (POWER) presented its position paper to the Committee saying the “unprecedented and artificial” spike in power rates of December 2013 which they said “was foreseen but not prevented by an inutile Department of Energy (DOE), taken advantage of by colluding industry players, and then given an imprimatur by an inept and beholden Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC)” is proof that EPIRA has failed.

POWER cited EPIRA’s “many flaws” including Sections 6 and 29 declaring power generation and supply as non-public utilities and therefore not subject to regulation; Section 30 creating the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM); Sections 32 and 33 allowing the National Power Corporation (NPC) and distribution utilities to pass on stranded costs and stranded debts to consumers; Section 45 allowing for cross ownerships between power generators and distributors; Chapter V privatizing the National Power Corp.; Section 21 privatizing the national grid; and Section 71 limiting the government’s power to directly intervene in the power industry.

The consumers said they are proposing to Congress to make a new law that will categorize power generation and supply as public utilities, re-establish Napocor’s role as power generator and regain control of the national grid.

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