Monday, August 08, 2005

New FERC Chair worries about California power situation

The new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is worried about power supplies in California.

"It's discouraging," said Kelliher, who in July became chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. "Five years after the crisis, we're still worried about what the temperature will be in Southern California today."

As Kelliher settles into the new job, California's energy problems, old and new, may provide a key test of his leadership.

Relations between the state and the federal agency have improved since the stormy days of the 2000-01 energy crisis. But once again, the risk of shortages in California is bringing scrutiny to energy policy — and unresolved disputes over refunds dating to the power meltdown are still soaking up time and effort at the federal agency.

"I think we need to close out the California crisis," Kelliher said. "Other issues have been languishing."