Perspective: Utility legislation called friendly to consumers
Saturday, July 6, 2013
It’s that time of year when the summer heat has folks across the country clambering to enjoy the outdoors while also ensuring they have a cool place to escape the rising mercury.
With cooling bills typically on the rise this time of year, I had the opportunity recently to co-sponsor legislation that passed with bi-partisan support that deals specifically with how our power supply is managed.
The Public Power Risk Management Act, which now awaits Senate action, will place utility special entities on a level playing field with everyone else in the marketplace. This legislation will protect public power ratepayers from cost increases by allowing for more sources from which public power entities may purchase energy for future needs.
Specifically, the legislation would allow producers, utility companies, and other non-financial entities to continue entering into energy swaps with government-owned utilities without requiring them to register with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Utility special entities should be allowed to keep using traditional swap counterparties to help manage their risk-related to the generation of electricity or production of natural gas.
While the legislation didn’t receive much notice from the mainstream media, I was pleased to see that some folks who follow my social media pages were pleased with the legislation and the comments ranged from “This makes sense,” to “... this is a necessity.”
The legislation is also supported by groups including the Consumer Federation of America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Commodity Markets Oversight Coalition. Taxpayers also should be pleased with the legislation because it contains no intergovernmental or private sector mandates and would impose no costs on state or local governments.
At a time when many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, ensuring the free and fair competition remains in the utility marketplace is essential in holding costs down.
Traditionally, Missouri has been blessed with some of the lowest utility rates in the country even though those rates have increased over time due to market forces. That is why it is imperative that as your elected representative I do all that I can to try and create an environment that holds costs down as much as possible.
I remain hopeful that this consumer-friendly legislation is quickly acted upon by the Senate, and given the strong bi-partisan support it received in the House, I don’t see any reason why it cannot.
I also am optimistic that, should the bill make it to the president’s desk, it will be signed into law. As a member of Congress, it is my goal to make decisions that help hard-working folks prosper and anything we can do to ease the economic burden they face is a step in the right direction.
U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., represents the 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office call be reached at 573-635-7232.
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