Aging Power Grids

     WASHINGTON (CN) – Three years after it issued an order determining the right of energy suppliers to gain access to the nation’s aging electric power transmission infrastructure, Order No. 681, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is still answering industry questions about which energy companies should be guaranteed transmission capacity when the system is congested.

     In a decision denying several petitions for a rehearing of the order, the commission declined to determine that retail energy providers-those who serve a constant base load-should always receive priority over wholesalers who do not serve a customer base, but sell power to the open market. Instead, FERC found that those who serve a constant base load may have preference only when the load has contributed to the system’s embedded costs, and the transmission organization has planned and built its system to accommodate the load.

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