FTC Files Comment with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission About How to Improve Transmission Line Planning; FTC Approves BASF SE Request to Sell Parts of Cibas Pigment Business to Dominion Colour Corporation

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FTC Files Comment with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission About How to Improve Transmission Line Planning

The Federal Trade Commission has provided U.S. energy regulators with its views about how to improve regional planning for new power transmission lines and how to allocate the costs of new transmission lines.

In a reply comment submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the FTC advised FERC that planning for new transmission lines will be most effective if it covers a geographic area that matches the scope of power flows. Planning on this scale can better take into account congestion, reliability, and the environmental impacts of power transmission lines in that region, the FTC’s comment stated. The FTC also stated that, in determining how to divide up the costs of new lines, FERC should recognize that the transmission system’s functions are evolving to include a number of important new attributes. For example, developments in “smart grid” technology can improve the efficiency of grid operations and give consumers more control over their energy use and energy bills. Patterns of power use will change as a result. The FTC further stated that, in examining how to divide up costs, FERC should take into account the fact that some new sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, produce output intermittently. These kinds of changes will alter the costs and benefits of new transmission lines. In its comment, the FTC also recommended that FERC seek ways to allocate costs that are consistent within each of the two regional transmission grids in the eastern and western United States.

FERC issued a notice on October 28 seeking comments about how to improve the transmission planning process. The Commission vote approving the filing of the comment was 4-0. A copy of the comment can be found on the FTC’s Web site and as a link to this press release. (FTC File No. V100001; the staff contact is John H. Seesel, Associate General Counsel for Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2702.)

FTC Approves BASF SE Request to Sell Parts of Ciba’s Pigment Business to Dominion Colour Corporation

The Federal Trade Commission has approved BASF SE’s request to divest Ciba Holding Inc.’s Indanthrone Blue and Bismuth Vanadate Pigments Businesses to Dominion Colour Corporation. Divestiture of the two businesses is required by a Commission consent order issued on May 14, 2009. The FTC order was issued to resolve competitive concerns raised by BASF’s acquisition of Ciba, and required BASF to divest a range of assets to an FTC-approved acquirer. To comply with parts of order, earlier this year BASF petitioned the Commission to permit it to divest those assets to Dominion Colour.

The Commission vote approving the proposed divestiture was 4-0. (File No. Docket No. C-4253; the staff contact is Eric D. Rohlck, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2681; see press release dated April 2, 2009, at: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/04/basf.shtm.)

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.

(FYI 55.2009.wpd)

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