Hudson Valley Energy Spat Fizzles in 2nd Circ.

     MANHATTAN (CN) -Three utility companies and two public agencies failed to prove that federal regulations regarding a new capacity “demand curve” would saddle lower Hudson Valley residents with higher prices, the 2nd Circuit ruled today.
     The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued four orders in 2013 and 2014 approving the New York Independent System Operator’s order to create a new “capacity zone” serving southeastern New York state.
     The New York Independent System Operator allegedly had improving the reliability and availability of power in the lower Hudson Valley when it proposed these changes.
     James Laurito, the president of Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., was skeptical.
     “We oppose FERC’s implementation of the new capacity zone because it increases electricity costs for our customers without a corresponding benefit,” Laurito said at the time.
     His company joined two other utilities – and two state agencies – in petitioning to have the 2nd Circuit federal appeals court review the commission’s orders last year.
     The companies asserted in their press materials that the “new capacity zone increased residential bills by nearly 6 percent and industrial customer bills by up to 10 percent while providing no customer benefits.”
     A three-judge panel unanimously rejected their claims Thursday.
     “We conclude that FERC articulated sound economic principles supporting the creation of the Lower Hudson Valley Zone and satisfactorily explained how those principles justified its conclusion,” the 61-page opinion states.
     Judge Christopher Droney and Manhattan’s U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan concurred in the opinion by Judge Debra Ann Livingston.
     Lawyers for the utilities, the public agencies and the commission did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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