Commission authorization of the filing of staff comments: The Commission has authorized the staff of the Bureau of Economics and of the Office of the General Counsel to file comments with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) regarding the transfer of generation assets from an unregulated affiliate to its regulated parent utility (Docket Number 03-0083). In its comments, which are available on the FTC’s Web site as a link to this press release, the staff addresses how this type of transaction potentially could change a parent utility’s incentives in two ways that could harm competition and consumers. The first is the incentive of a regulated parent utility with unexercised market power to evade cost-based rate regulation by transferring assets of an unregulated affiliate to the parent’s utility rate base at inflated prices. The second is the increased incentives or ability of the parent to discriminate vertically against independent generators or marketers.
The staff concludes its comments by encouraging the ICC to analyze both potential sources of consumer harm in this and similar proposed transactions. One useful approach, it states, may be to consider unbundling and rebundling of generation assets as equal but opposite transactions. The Commission vote authorizing the staff to file the comments with the ICC was 5-0. (FTC File No. V030012; staff contact is Michael S. Wroblewski, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2155.)
Publication of Federal Register notice: Following a public comment period, the Commission has approved publication of a Federal Register notice regarding how the FTC will implement a National Do Not Call Registry under the FTC’s recent amendments to the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). As detailed in the notice, which is available on the Commission’s Web site as a link to this press release and will be published shortly, the FTC will implement the registry by establishing a new agency system of records subject to the Privacy Act of 1974, as amended. The proposed system will include telephone numbers and other information pertaining to individuals who have informed the Commission that they do not wish to receive telemarketing calls. Telephone numbers in the registry will be disclosed to authorized telemarketers for purposes of compliance with the “do not call” provisions of the TSR. The Commission vote to approve publication of the Federal Register notice was 5-0. (FTC File No. R411001; staff contact is Alex Tang, Office of the General Counsel, 202-326-2447; see related press releases dated January 22 and March 1, 2002.)
Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.