"The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has changed the rules for a federal law that allows independent energy projects to secure utility contracts for their power. Utility groups say the changes will reduce costs for customers, but clean-energy groups and independent power developers say they’ll stifle open competition.
FERC’s new rule for the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), which closely matches its proposal from last year, passed by a 3-1 vote Thursday over the objections of the commission’s sole Democrat, Richard Glick.
In FERC’s Thursday meeting, Chairman Neil Chatterjee said the new rule represents a “wide-ranging and comprehensive set of reforms” to how the 1978 federal law is implemented. Under PURPA, utilities in states without wholesale energy markets must contract with independent power projects, known as qualifying facilities (QFs), if they can produce electricity at less than the utility’s avoided cost of generation. "