Announced Actions for July 11, 2003

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Commission approval of a staff comment to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission: The FTC has approved the filing of a staff comment with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) about its revised proposals to implement a standard market design (SMD) for regional wholesale electricity markets. The comment addresses four aspects of the agency's recent White Paper on this subject, as well as previous elements of its regional transmission organization (RTO) and SMD proposals.

First, the staff states that "deference to regional economic differences and to regional timing constraints is likely to be accompanied by an increased risk of impeding efficient wholesale electric power trades, although there may also be benefits from deferring to some regional market design preferences." The comment describes examples of where efficient power trading could be compromised if different regions were to adopt different market design rules. Second, according to the comment, the revised FERC proposals present another opportunity for FERC to encourage states to focus on policies that are likely to facilitate wholesale competition and system reliability, both regionally and nationally. Accordingly, the staff encourages the agency to study and publicize how state programs that increase the price sensitivity of retail electricity demand can help protect consumers from market power, reduce system costs, and improve reliability.

Third, the staff suggests that although FERC's market monitoring proposals offer several potentially useful behavioral and reporting requirements, FERC may wish to add a requirement that each RTO's market monitoring unit use comparable data, analytical techniques, and formats in reporting to the agency, and that the units refer possible antitrust violations to the appropriate government agencies. Finally, the staff stresses its continued belief that "the efficient, customer-service-oriented operation of the transmission network is an important and appropriate goal for regulatory reforms," FERC should include operating efficiency in its set of minimum characteristics for RTOs and Independent System Operators.

The Commission vote to approve the filing of the staff comment was 5-0. Copies of the comment, which reflect the views of the FTC's Bureau of Economics and the Office of General Counsel, are now available on the Commission's Web site as a link to this press release. (FTC File No. V030013, Docket No. RM01-12-000; staff contact is Michael S. Wroblewski, Office of General Counsel, 202-326-2155; see related release dated November 22, 2002.)

Commission approval of final consent orders: Following a public comment period, the Commission has approved the issuance of two final consent orders in the matters concerning LCA-Vision, Inc. d/b/a LASIK-PLUS and The Laser Vision Institute, LLC, as well as a letter to the commenter of record. The Commission vote to approve the final consent order and letter was 5-0. (FTC File Nos. 022-3098 and 022-3053; staff contact is Matthew Daynard, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-3291; see press release dated March 26, 2003.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC's Web site at 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.

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