FTC Files Electricity Transmission Comments with FERC; Commission Approves Proposed Divestitures by Service Corporation International, et al.; FTC Approves Final Consent Order in Matter of United Launch Alliance

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Commission filing of comments with FERC: The Commission approved the filing of a comment with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concerning FERC’s standards of conduct for electric power and natural gas transmission providers. The comment was filed on May 4, 2007, in response to FERC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) regarding dealings between transmission providers and their affiliated energy companies in both the electric power and natural gas industries. The standards are intended to prevent transmission providers from cross-subsidizing or discriminating in favor of their energy affiliates, which can harm economic efficiency and reduce consumer welfare.

In the comment submitted on May 4, the FTC refers specifically to FERC Order No. 2004, which resulted from a previous NOPR that FERC issued in 2001. In a comment on that earlier NOPR that it filed with FERC in December 2001, the FTC supported parallel treatment between the electric power and natural gas industries. In its new NOPR, FERC proposes to narrow the scope of Order No. 2004 so as to cover only discrimination favoring marketing affiliates in the case of natural gas transmission suppliers. The order would not cover discrimination in favor of non-marketing affiliates. FERC also seeks comments on whether it should similarly narrow the application of Order No. 2004 to electric transmission providers.

The FTC’s comment refers to initial comments by the Natural Gas Supply Association, Reliant Energy, and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, all of which encourage FERC to consider reissuing Order No. 2004 in its original form – the form that the FTC supported in 2001. According to the FTC’s May 4 comment, “[t]he proposal to narrow the scope of standards of conduct in both electricity and natural gas – so that the standards would cover only marketing affiliates – may fail to recognize that incentives to discriminate and cross-subsidize in ways that are likely to cause inefficient resource allocations apply to both natural gas transmission providers and electric transmission providers, and apply to both their marketing and non-marketing affiliates.”

The Commission vote approving the filing of the comment with FERC was 5-0. The comment can be found on the FTC’s Web site and as a link to this press release. (FTC File No.V070009; the staff contact is John H. Seesel, Associate General Counsel for Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2702; see related press release dated December 24, 2001.)

Commission approval of proposed divestitures: The Commission has approved a petition by Service Corporation International (SCI) and Alderwoods Group, Inc regarding several divestitures related to SCI’s recent acquisition of Alderwoods. In the FTC’s consent agreement and order allowing the transaction to proceed with conditions, SCI and Alderwoods were required to divest a range of funeral home and cemetery services companies. Through the petition, a public version of which can be found on the Commission’s Web site as a link to this press release, the companies requested approval to divest the properties listed below under three sales agreements, to KAG, LLC, which, prior to the closing of the transaction, will be a subsidiary of NorthStar Memorial Group, LLC.

The first sales agreement includes: Graceland Memorial Park North, Miami, Florida, and Graceland Memorial Park South, Miami, Florida. The second sales agreement includes: Memorial Park Cemetery, Memphis, Tennessee; Memorial Park Funeral Home, Memphis, Tennessee; and Spring Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee. The third sales agreement includes: Beth David Memorial Gardens and Chapel, Hollywood, Florida; Levitt-Weinstein Memorial Chapel, Pembroke Road, Hollywood, Florida; Levitt-Weinstein Memorial Chapel, Coconut Creek, Florida; Levitt-Weinstein Memorial Chapel, North 72nd Ave., Hollywood, Florida; Levitt-Weinstein Memorial Chapel, Tamarac, Florida; Blasberg Rubin Zilbert Memorial Chapel, Miami Beach, Florida; Eternal Light Funeral Chapel, North Miami Beach, Florida; Levitt-Weinstein Memorial Chapel, North Miami Beach, Florida; Cardwell & Maloney Funeral Home, Port Orange, Florida; Skyway Memorial Gardens, Palmetto, Florida; Fort Myers Memorial Gardens, Fort Myers, Florida; and Fort Myers Memorial Gardens Funeral Home, Fort Myers, Florida.

The Commission vote to approve the proposed divestitures was 5-0. (FTC File No. 061-0156, Docket No. C-4174; the staff contact is Elizabeth A. Piotrowski, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2623, see press release dated November 22, 2006.)

Commission approval final consent order: Following a public comment period, the Commission has approved a final consent order and letters for forwarding to the commenters of record in the matter concerning The Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin Corp. (United Launch Alliance). The Commission vote approving the final order and letters to the commenters was 5-0, with Commissioners Pamela Jones Harbour and William E. Kovacic, joined by Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras and Commissioner J. Thomas Rosch, issuing separate concurring statements. (FTC File No. 051-0165; the staff contact is Randall A. Long, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2715; see press release dated October 3, 2006.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

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