Announced Actions for August 29, 2003
Commission approval of comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: The Commission has approved the filing of a comment with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regarding proposed revisions to market-based tariffs and authorizations. The comment, which is available as a link to this press release on the FTC’s Web site, responds to FERC’s proposed six behavioral rules designed to safeguard against “unjust and unreasonable rates” when an electric generator or marketer is granted authority by FERC to charge market-based rates in wholesale electricity markets.
First, according to the FTC’s comment, the Commission recognizes that the misconduct of some suppliers in the western energy markets in 2000 and 2001 has motivated FERC to impose additional behavioral rules on these and other electric power markets. Nevertheless, the comment urges FERC not to lose sight of the goal of developing structurally competitive markets that exhibit ease of entry. Second, the comment discusses the relationship between federal antitrust law and FERC’s authority to prevent unjust and unreasonable rates, noting that some seller conduct could violate both the antitrust laws and FERC’s proposed rules. Other conduct could violate FERC’s proposed rules, but not the antitrust laws. Accordingly, the comment suggests FERC may wish to revise “Market Behavior Rule #2,” which prohibits “market manipulation” by sellers of wholesale electric power, so that conduct that violates the antitrust laws also is prohibited under this rule. The comment also suggests that FERC use the principals outlined in the FTC’s Deception Statement to prohibit deceptive conduct that may lead to unjust and unreasonable rates.
Finally, the comment discusses Market Behavior Rules #3 and #4, which require accurate communications with, and reporting to, FERC, market monitors, and state regulatory authorities. The comment suggests that FERC consider building the concepts of materiality and confidentiality into these rules to ensure they do not hamper efficient transactions. The FTC vote to approve filing of the comments with the FERC was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour not participating. (FTC File No. V030014; staff contact is Michael S. Wroblewski, 202-326-2155.)
Commission approval of final consent orders: Following a public comment period, the Commission has approved a final consent order in the matter concerning Physician Network Consulting, L.L.C. The FTC vote to approve the final order was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour not participating. (FTC File No. 021-0178; staff contact is Jeffrey W. Brennan, 202-326-3688; see press release dated July 22, 2003.)
Following a public comment period, the Commission has approved a final consent order in the matter concerning The Maine Health Alliance. The FTC vote to approve the final order was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour not participating. (FTC File No. 021-0017; staff contact is Jeffrey W. Brennan, 202-326-3688; see press release dated July 18, 2003.)
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, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.
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