Senate panel okays limited electricity bill

The Senate Energy Committee Wednesday reported a limited bill to approve the reliability of the US electric power grid, abandoning efforts to pass a broad retail restructuring bill. Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-Alas.) said he and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the ranking Democrat on the panel, were unable to agree on two key elements of a comprehensive bill: a division of federal and state powers and whether to mandate that renewable fuels be used to generate power.

Jun 22nd, 2000


Washington, DC�The Senate Energy Committee Wednesday reported a limited bill to approve the reliability of the US electric power grid, abandoning efforts to pass a broad retail restructuring bill.

Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-Alas.) said he and Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the ranking Democrat on the panel, were unable to agree on two key elements of a comprehensive bill: a division of federal and state powers and whether to mandate that renewable fuels be used to generate power.

Miurkowski explained, �We are late in the Senate session and we need to take action on the more limited, although still very important, provisions on reliability.�

He indicated he would try again to pass a comprehensive bill next session.

The committee approved a bill that would give the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission jurisdiction over organizations that promote the reliability of electric service. Senators said the measure, if passed by the Congress, still will not preclude blackouts from occurring in some cities this summer.

Murkowski said he will seek to have the bill considered by the full Senate under an expedited process.

In the House of Representatives, Rep. Tom Bliley (D-Va.) has circulated a draft bill that focuses on reliability. Bliley, the Commerce Committee chairman, has not scheduled a markup of that legislation.

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