Energy Volunteer Attorney Lynn Hargis
Fighting for Affordable Energy for Americans -- STILL!
Public Citizen is very fortunate to have an experienced and dedicated attorney as a volunteer in its Washington office. Last November, you sent many notes of appreciation to her for her work on the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA). She was very grateful for your support!
Since then, Lynn's been busy with a new issue. Here she answers some questions about her efforts from Citizen Direct and invites you to send her questions as well.
Citizen Direct: Since you were last profiled, you have been addressing another important energy issue. Give us the inside scoop.
Lynn: Public Citizen has taken the lead in a consumer challenge currently pending in the U.S. Court of Appeals contending that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is not regulating wholesale electric rates as the law requires. This failure has led to significant increases in electricity prices - some customers are paying 72% more!
Citizen Direct: What is the problem with FERC in this matter?
Lynn: FERC contends that there is competition to sell electricity and that it is therefore not necessary for FERC to regulate wholesale prices. We contend that without authorization from Congress, FERC cannot allow the prices to rise without rate regulation.
Citizen Direct: How is it looking for consumers who have been paying higher and higher electricity bills?
Lynn: Since PUHCA was killed after 70 years and the public utilities are not adequately regulated, the consumer's pocketbook is suffering terribly. Public Citizen is taking every possible step to make sure that the laws that do apply are upheld and in this particular case, we recently got some good news. FERC had attempted to get our case dismissed but we argued against this and have prevailed. On July 20, 2006, the Court of Appeals issued an order sending our case to a "merits" panel of the Court for oral argument instead of granting FERC's Motion to Dismiss. We will therefore get our hearing before the Court of Appeals to represent electricity consumers.
FERC, by the way, is being supported by the public utility industry and by "energy" traders" that FERC itself has fined for manipulating electricity "markets." I am confident, however that Public Citizen and the consumer will win this case -- we have the LAW on our side.
Do you have a question for Lynn? Click learn more below for details about the case and then write Lynn.