FTC Staff: Proposed Modifications to Louisianas Administrative Rules on Portable and Mobile Dentistry Would Deny Many of States Children Access to Dental Care; FTC Files Comment with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Plan to Help Consumers Manage

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FTC Staff: Proposed Modifications to Louisiana’s Administrative Rules on Portable and Mobile Dentistry Would Deny Many of State’s Children Access to Dental Care

The staff of the Federal Trade Commission’s Office of Policy Planning, Bureau of Economics, and Bureau of Competition has sent a comment to the Louisiana State Board of Dentistry urging the board to modify its proposed Administrative Rules on Portable and Mobile Dentistry because the proposals could prevent many of the state’s children – and particularly those on Medicaid – from receiving dental care.

The FTC staff comment explains that some of the rules impose additional requirements on mobile dentistry, making it more difficult to provide dental treatment in a mobile setting and thereby reducing the number of poor children in Louisiana who would receive dental care. At the same time, there is no evidence to suggest that the Board proposals would provide the state with any benefits.

The Commission vote approving the staff comment was 4-0. It can be found on the FTC’s Web site and as a link to this press release. (FTC File No. V100005; the staff contact is Gustav Chiarello, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326-2633; see related press release dated May 22, 2009, at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/05/ladentistry2.shtm.)

FTC Files Comment with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Plan to Help Consumers Manage Their Electricity Use and Reduce Costs

The Federal Trade Commission provided U.S. energy regulators with its views about a proposed plan to support programs designed to help consumers manage their electricity use, so the electrical grid can be run more efficiently and at lower cost.

In a comment submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, known as FERC, the FTC applauded the draft plan for these initiatives, which are commonly referred to as “demand response” programs. The plan includes an emphasis on using consumer research to determine how best to explain demand response to consumers and a recognition that renewable, weather-sensitive power generation technologies such as wind and solar will create new opportunities for demand response programs. Well-designed demand response programs can deliver benefits, including lower bills for consumers, a greater sense of control over power bills, and increased electric system reliability, the FTC stated.

The Commission recommended that FERC expand the scope of its consumer research to better understand consumers’ preferences, motives, decision-making, ability to use technology effectively, and willingness to pay attention to energy use. Then demand response programs can be developed from the ground up to address the needs of both the electrical grid and the consumers who create the demand and who likely will need to volunteer to participate in the programs.

The Commission also suggested that the FERC plan should increase its support of dynamic pricing programs, which change prices over time to better reflect variations in the costs of generating, transmitting, and distributing power. In addition, the plan should recognize that consumer education and equipment upgrades will improve customers’ ability to take advantage of programs such as dynamic pricing. The plan also should do more to support innovation and spur competition, rather than focusing only on programs from existing utilities, the FTC stated.

On October 28, 2009, FERC issued a discussion draft of “Possible Elements of a National Action Plan on Demand Response.” The FTC filed its comment with FERC on December 11. The Commission vote approving the comment was 4-0. A copy can be found on the FTC’s Web site and as a link to this press release. (FTC File No. V100002; the staff contact is John H. Seesel, Associate General Counsel for Energy, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2702.)

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 58.2.2009.wpd)

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