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Where is the line between federal and state jurisdiction on electricity?

A live webinar presented by Power Markets Today

Rockville, MD (June 29, 2016) – State and federal jurisdictions often lead to some friction and the case of the economic regulation of electricity is no different, especially in the restructured markets.

States that turned to the markets to run their generation now split significant authority with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The states can approve or deny where generation gets built and its environmental requirements but when they have tried to back it economically, they have run into FERC action and sometimes federal lawsuits.

One of the longest running disputes was put to bed by the Supreme Court this April when it affirmed the lower courts' findings that Maryland exceeded its authority in backing a new gas plant with a contract for differences. The ruling also effectively ended New Jersey's similar program from the same time.

Since the state plans for those plants were hatched, the price of natural gas has dropped and that has led to more disputes over whether and how to keep baseload power plants open. FERC is reviewing proposed power purchase agreements between two Ohio utilities and their affiliates.
Meanwhile American Electric Power (AEP) and FirstEnergy have asked the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to approve their "plan Bs" and the first firm is exploring some kind of possible re-regulation in the state. Ohio is not the only state trying to keep open power plants, however. Both Illinois and New York have considered ways to keep aging nuclear plants open.

New England has long-standing issues with the price of natural gas in the winter and its states are weighing whether to back new pipelines with electric rates. They are also considering long-term contracts for hydroelectricity from Canada. Those actions have drawn opposition from power generators, while environmentalists and other opponents to natural gas oppose the pipeline idea.
It would be easier to come up with states that are not interested in backing power plants in ways that wholesale power markets do not. The issue is obviously not over, despite the Supreme Court's finding in the Hughes case.
Learn where the debate on federal versus state jurisdiction is after some major recent developments and get an idea for the future of this issues by registering for or downloading the recording of Power Markets Today webinar titled “Where is the line between federal and state jurisdiction on electricity?” scheduled for Thursday, June 30, 2016, from 2-3:30 PM Eastern US Time. Call +1-301-769-6812 (1-888-637-7776 toll-free in the US and Canada) or visit for details. To download the recording post event, please visit

Speaker biographies

Katie Scharf Dykes is the deputy commissioner for energy at the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CT DEEP). Scharf Dykes works with both halves of the agency's energy branch: the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) on the regulatory side and the Bureau of Energy & Technology Policy on the energy strategy side. She provides leadership at a defining moment in the agency's history as DEEP moves forward to achieve the goals of Connecticut's energy agenda by bringing cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy to the state. Scharf Dykes joined CT DEEP in March 2012, after serving as Deputy General Counsel for the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Prior to that, she served as legal advisor to the General Counsel for the US Department of Energy. She holds a bachelor's degree in history and environmental studies from Yale, a master's degree in history, also from Yale, and she is a graduate of Yale Law School.

John Moore is a senior attorney at Sustainable FERC Project, a coalition-based initiative housed at the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Project promotes the development of a modern, flexible and efficient high power electric grid necessary to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency and other clean energy resources. Moore advocates on behalf of the Project and other clean energy and environmental groups before FERC and regional transmission grid organizations. He also represents the environmental sector on the Advisory Committee of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator. Moore began his career in Washington, DC, as an environmental attorney at the firms of Akin Gump and Squire Sanders & Dempsey. He holds a bachelor's degree in English from Denison University and a juris doctor degree with honors from University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Dan Shields joined the Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel (OCC) as director of analytical services in March, 2014. He is responsible for administering the accounting, economic and financial analyses associated with utility rate filings and other regulatory proceedings that affect Ohio's residential utility consumers. Shields provides advice and recommendations for OCC's utility advocacy on technical and policy issues related to regulation and legislation. Before joining OCC, he managed the Office of the Federal Energy Advocate at the PUCO. He earlier served as a senior policy specialist on state and federal energy and telecommunications issues.

John Shelk has been president and CEO of the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), the national trade association representing leading competitive electricity suppliers, since 2005. He is responsible for EPSA's overall management and strategic direction, including legislative affairs, regulatory policy and public affairs. He served as a counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee after which he has held a series of positions in the private sector with increasing responsibility. He earned a juris doctor degree with honors from Georgetown University Law Center and a bachelor's degree in American government from Georgetown University.

Key learning points

  • How have the Supreme Court's recent rulings in the EPSA and Hughes cases impacted this issue?
  • Now that the EPSA and Hughes cases are in the past, what other specific issues are bubbling up now?
  • Are the major changes the industry is starting to go through going to lead to more of these types of cases?
  • How will the move to a more distributed power system play out jurisdictionally? •What impact will "top down" programs to address climate change such as the Clean Power Plan have on jurisdictional issues?
  • Ask your own questions and get advice from the panel, tailored to your specific needs, when we open up the phone lines for live Q&A from the audience.

About Power Markets Today

Power Markets Today's is a daily journal delivering trusted news, in-depth analysis and strategic insight on the unfolding regulatory issues facing wholesale power markets and retail energy markets in North America. It is published 245 times a year by Modern Markets Intelligence Inc. (MMI), publisher of independent trade news for the evolving energy industry of the 21st century. It is located in Rockville, Md. Sam Spencer founded MMI in 2009 after writing, editing, marketing, publishing, running and inventing trade news publications and related products for three decades. To sign up for a 14-day, risk-free trial, please visit


James Downing
Editor, Power Markets Today
Modern Markets Intelligence Inc.

Season Crawford
VP of Marketing
Modern Markets Intelligence Inc.



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