Feds cancel power auction by grid operator, market uncertainty increases

New Jersey environment, energy, electricity

TOM JOHNSON / NJ SPOTLIGHT – A federal agency has told the operator of the nation’s largest power grid to cancel a planned auction next month that helps determine how much consumers and businesses pay for electricity.

The decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday delays an August auction by PJM Interconnection to line up the extra capacity of power it may need to meet peak electricity demand.

The issue of how the latter goes about setting prices for that power has been the core of a long-running dispute among PJM, power suppliers, policymakers in New Jersey and elsewhere, and the federal agency, which ruled a year ago the current rules for doing so are “unjust and unreasonable.’’

But the FERC commissioners have been unable to come up with a fix they can agree on, leading PJM to ask the agency to allow it to run the forward-looking capacity auction this August under the old rules, a waiver denied last week. PJM operates the power grid stretching from the Eastern Seaboard to Illinois, serving more than 55 million customers …

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