Skip to comments.Supreme Court upholds U.S. effort to control peak power use, prevent blackouts
Posted on 01/26/2016 8:33:50 AM PST by PROCON
The idea is to control demand rather than increase supply, which can be more expensive and less environmentally sound.
Two major problems here:
First, the USSC is now basing decisions based on the false "science" of climate change.
Second, as the two dissenting Justices pointed out:
This regulatory power is, "a power reserved for the states."
Let me guess who voted to increase federal power.
Every “liberal” on the court, right?
FReepmail me to subscribe to or unsubscribe from the SCOTUS ping list.
States should disobey this unlawful order.
The Esteemed Justices of SCOTUS, in addition to the finest in legal training, are all Electrical Engineers.
The Supreme Court has no business at all rendering an opinion on the question one way or the other. It is outside their Constitutional purview in my opinion.
This is not something new or different. It has been done for decades in the industrial power market.
For example, I did work for a Natural Gas Storage facility. We used large compressors to pump Natural Gas into a depleted reservoir during off-peak periods and let it flow back out during high peak demand periods.
We had to keep enough supply in the ground to meet a future peak demand. Typical market orders were on a per month basis. We would shut down for a few hours on a few days a year to ease load on the electrical grid.
In exchange, we got a very cheap electrical rate. We owned our own 138kV Substation.
It is not about climate change. It is cheaper to find those customers whose load demand can be postponed versus running a peak, inefficient gas or other fast generator a few hours a year. Less cost and less exhaust.
I don’t see hospitals and schools fitting this role.
Apparently you didn't read the article because, in part, the decision was based on it.
I understand your supply and demand argument, but the underlying conundrum is that they are "encouraging" consumers to use less electricity or else pay a higher rate.
Not to mention the states rights issue.
Next up, the box-cars to the re-education centers.
I mean, there’s essentially NO limit to what the Fed govt CAN do, Constitutions be damned, no? /I wish
Federal rights good
State's rights bad
I think the new part is federal intrusion into state energy markets. A camel’s nose under a tent flap that could eventually lead to federal mandates/restrictions on household energy use.
And since this is not off-peak use, but rather reduction in grid use, the article discusses incredibly wasteful strategies such as battery storage and solar arrays (no doubt subsidized by some tentacle of the government) to allow ‘hospitals and schools’ to get this discount.
The government just works full time to make it harder to earn a living and buy basic necessities.
This is a prelude to national smart metering being codified into law.
Roberts and Kennedy, of course, join to give the left a strong majority.
I did read the article. I saw where environmental groups made the claim, but I don't see that in the article as part of the decision. Would you point out the text you claim I missed?
Demand shaving is a very normal part of a healthy grid. We do it internally in industrial facilities as well as out on the grid. If you don't, you end up with great expense building out generation and distribution facilities designed for a peak a few hours a year that easily could have been reduced.
Just for background, I'm an electrical engineer, specialized in power system. I now normally work in oil, gas or petrochem facilities but started in the electric utility world.
Smart metering is the first thing that came to my mind. A lot of people think worrying about Smart Meters is black helicopter stuff...but I can very easily see a federal rate structure, where those of us who go over our monthly allotment will pay through the nose...except for movie stars and politicians, of course.
No, no, I’m not attacking your credentials, my lament is that, whether implied or not, the liberal justices repeatedly base their decisions on liberal dogma rather than constitutional muster.
In that, I agree it is a problem. Although only Texas, Alaska and Hawaii operate their grid solely within state borders.
I don't agree this is not about peak use. If you read about this from a more technical point of view, rather than main stream media trying to claim an unrelated point, you may see it differently.
In a 6-2 decision, the justices ruled the agency was within its authority under the Federal Power Act when it issued Order 745, which set standards for demand response practices and pricing in wholesale markets and brought the practice under the agency's jurisdiction.
“Apparently you didn’t read the article because, in part, the decision was based on it.”
“I did read the article. I saw where environmental groups made the claim, but I don’t see that in the article as part of the decision. Would you point out the text you claim I missed?”
Would you please point out what you think I missed?
Liberals are already saying the solution to rolling brown outs in the summer because their solar and wind power doesn’t meet the demand is shutting off peoples’ appliances whether they want it or not.
My excerpt from the article in comment #1.
The idea is to control demand rather than increase supply, which can be more expensive and less environmentally sound.
The code words "environmentally sound" implies man-made climate change, as we have been talking about here for years.
Those are the words of Richard Wolf, USA TODAY writer, not from the decision.
May I suggest some reading outside the lame stream media that is trying to claim an unrelated victory?
“Although only Texas, Alaska and Hawaii operate their grid solely within state borders.”
The crux of this case is the government’s expanding from wholesale jurisdiction into retail jurisdiction. I don’t live in Texas, Alaska, or Hawaii...but a state commission sets retail electricity rates - at least for now...this ruling could change that.
The entire decision in pdf form
See pdf at 26
I saw a fascinating (and worrisome) documentary on energy, on public television. Fascinating was seeing the generation and distribution of power. Worrisome was seeing the ideas people had in their head with smart meters - in particular involuntary shut-down of appliances. Not just shutting power to the entire meter like they do now in their planned rolling blackouts, but somehow having the capability (and authority?!?!) to tinker with individual appliances and thermostat settings.
Then it got real bad. The host was in a helicopter, equipped with heat sensing technology. The purpose of the flight was to map out which houses were hotter than others, and which were leaking ‘too much’ heat. This is an ongoing project - your house may already be in a database as ‘non-compliant’...and I could see the nexus of this database and federal control over home lending: i.e. no FHA backed loan until the seller installs more insulation (and no doubt hires some crony ‘expert’ to supervise the project).
I don't think that is correct. The FERC Order 745 set standards for demand response practices and pricing in wholesale markets and brought the practice under the agency's jurisdiction.
Perhaps this provides a better perspective.
Since 1935, as part the Federal Power Act, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has had the authority to regulate the demand response market. FERC manages the compensation related to demand response for the wholesale electricity markets, in which electricity is competitively bought and sold.
About five years ago, to help maintain competition for demand response, FERC ruled that companies that deliver demand response services should receive the same rates for conserving electricity as companies that generate electricity. Naturally, companies that make money off of producing electricity (and not conserving it) didn’t like that ruling. The Electric Power Supply Association, representing electric power producers, took FERC to court and challenged the order.
In 2014, a D.C. Circuit court sided with the power producers and found that states have exclusive jurisdiction over the demand response market, not the federal government. Last year, the Supreme Court agreed to take on the case and then heard oral arguments.
On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld FERC’s order that it can regulate demand response in wholesale markets and maintain the same rates for electricity that’s either produced or saved. Six judges sided with FERC, while two judges dissented (and one recused himself).
The news is cause for celebration for demand response providers of all kinds including EnerNOC and Nest. EnerNOC’s shares rose almost 70% on the deal to trade at close to $7 in mid-day trading. Tim Healy, chairman and CEO of EnerNOC, said in a statement: “Today’s decision is a tremendous win for all energy consumers, for the economy, and for the environment.”
The ruling is also important for the creation of more competition and tech innovation for the U.S. power grid. The power industry is a hybrid of regulated entities and competitive wholesale markets, and has been notoriously slow to adopt new technology.
I don’t know what exactly a “state energy market” is. Back in 2003 there was a huge blackout in the Northeast, and it turned out the power grid extends way beyond state — or even national — borders.
Maybe this will provide perspective - Scalia’s dissent starts on page 39.
- He points out that the Federal Power Act prohibits FERC from regulating any sale of electricity other than wholesale...and points out that ‘wholesale’ is well defined in the act...and this doesn’t meet that definition. He even opines about a scenario in which, under this ruling, the states could have zero authority in all matters related to the sale of electricity.
The generation and transmission of wholesale power is one thing (and it is a large inter-connected grid)...the sale of it is another. Odds are you pay your bill to a local power company...which operates as a regulated monopoly within the state. As such, when the power company raises rates, it must request, and be granted permission by a state run commission of some type.
Now the federal government gets to be involved in the price you pay for it...and as you know, the current POTUS actual would prefer if rates went up.
So sorry, but whenever I hear the term, “It’s a tremendous win....for the environment”, it makes my ass pucker with fear and apprehension and I grab hold of my wallet.
Thank you for taking the time to dig that out.
They are not trying to regulate retail, but made the argument so convoluted, to could be included either way.
- - - - -
Properly framing the inquiry matters not because I think there exists “some undefined category of . . . electricity sales” that is “non-retail [and] non-wholesale,”...
While the majority would find every sale of electric energy to be within FERC’s authority to regulate unless the transaction is demonstrably a retail sale, the statute actually excludes from FERC’s jurisdiction all sales of electric energy except those that are demonstrably sales at wholesale.
So what, exactly, is a “sale of electric energy at wholesale”? We need not guess, for the Act provides a definition: “a sale of electric energy to any person for resale.”
- - - - - -
From this point of view, it looks like FERC overstepped their bounds and SCOTUS allowed them to continue.
Understood, but don’t let the GoreBullWarmest make up nonsense and claim a win.
Now we know why they had all those Smart Thermostats installed.
You see the precursors to this with the rollout of NEST thermostats that monitor and report usage, smart appliances that have the intelligence and connectivity to be turned down or off by a central command, and utility companies pushing people toward “let us turn off stuff when we have demand and you’ll get rebates” that easily morph into “if you use power when you want, we can punish you”.
I don't, I rely on evidence from smart people like you and other industry insiders when it comes to this subject.
But you have to admit; in recent years, almost ALL decisions from SCOTUS have been based on judicial tyranny and subjective reasoning in their major decisions. (We don't need no steenkin' constitution.)
I just look back at the 0bamacare and "gay marriage" decisions and shake my head in disgust.
Kagan’s opinion is very telling. First, she gets around the law, and its restrictions on FERC involvement with anything other than wholesale power, by making declarations that its just too darned complicated and interconnected ‘in this modern world’...and decides that this must mean FERC authority should grow. So declares the existing law obsolete, and decides to legislate an update from the bench - and she is brazen enough to announce that.
But she really tips her hand, as to her true intentions, on page 11. She bemoans the fact that ‘State regulators insulate consumers from short-term price fluctuations’...and sees FERC as a way to fix that - ‘an alternative to that scenario’. On its face, that one statement is contrary to the constitution, and its declaration’s that powers not granted to the Federal government are reserved for the states. She is giving a road map on how she will quite specifically bypass those pesky ‘state regulators’. Its really hard to believe.
And 5 justices went along with her.
And don't even get me started on Constitutionality, which would actually make the states responsible for any emissions regulations.
You have been pinged because of your interest in environmentalism, alarmist wackos, mainstream media doomsday hype, and other issues pertaining to global warming.
Please ping me to all note-worthy threads on global warming.
Who cares about that old 10th Amendment thing now that we’ve got a Court that can make crap up as they go along, as they’ve freely done ever since FDR slimed his way across the national scene?
Oh you and that invisible hand of self regulation!
Enter the micro-grid.
It is coming (fast) and will be a royal bitch for the congress-critters to F over the industry as a whole with the alphabet energy regulatory commissions.
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