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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Media Statements & Speeches

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Statement: January 20, 2011
Docket No.: AD02-1-000

Statement of Commissioner Marc Spitzer on RTO/ISO metrics presentation

"Let me add my appreciation to these CEOs who took time out of very busy schedules to be here today. I appreciate your highlighting some of the specific findings from the filing this morning.

There is a great deal of information measured and presented through this effort. And while I think the greatest value from these metrics will be the analysis of trends for individual RTOs/ISOs going forward, there are lessons to be learned from what we've seen so far. I would like to mention a few this morning.

First, RTOs/ISOs are competitive markets. I have consistently argued that competitive markets are a means to ensure the Nation's ratepayers reliable supplies of energy at just and reasonable rates. The December filing makes clear that competitive markets have led to greater investment (for greater reliability and lower congestion), increased efficiency and development of new technologies. As one example, the metrics demonstrate a decreasing reliance on RMR contracts in favor of market mechanisms.

Second, while RTOs/ISOs do have costs to ratepayers, they provide a real value. It is critical to reflect upon this value proposition. Independent planning, centralized dispatch over larger geographic areas and broad reliability benefits provide valuable benefits to ratepayers.

Third, RTOs/ISOs reflect and should continue to reflect regional diversity. The RTOs/ISOs differ based on their historical systems, stakeholder needs, and concerns of regulators. While standardized metrics do provide comparable data for the RTOs/ISOs, this does not mean that the Commission will "compare" RTOs/ISOs or fail to respect regional differences. RTOs/ISOs are not one-size-fit-all structures.

Finally, these specific metrics do not tell the full story. It is stated in the December filing, but let me reiterate that the metrics do not definitively measure RTO/ISO performance. For example, the metrics themselves show the high correlation between wholesale energy prices and underlying fuel prices for all RTOs/ISOs. Other metrics depend on the behavior of other actors and are not within the RTO's/ISO's control.

Thank you again for your work on these issues. I will continue to monitor these efforts and will review the outcomes carefully."