A diverse group of electric utilities has launched the Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy (CFTP). More than 28 percent of U.S. electric customers, representing 26 states, are served by utilities and companies that are either formal CFTP members or are on record supporting the group's goals. The group will support legislative and regulatory policies within comprehensive energy legislation that will lead to the most efficient development of the nation's electric transmission systems and clean generation resources.

The Coalition will seek to ensure that any effort to improve transmission planning builds on existing successful, coordinated, open, and transparent regional processes, and is inclusive of all stakeholders. The CFTP believes that voluntary interconnection-wide coordination should be a complement to, and not a substitute for, local and regional processes.

The Coalition also will work to ensure that the costs of new transmission investments are borne by those who create the need for the investments.
More specifically, the Coalition supports language in S. 1462 that precludes the allocation of transmission expansion costs to electric consumers unless there are measurable economic or reliability benefits for those consumers.

"Customers are best served when electric transmission system planning reflects local needs and criteria," said Dave Joos, president and chief executive officer of CMS Energy Corporation. "Local planning -- coordinated with planning by regional transmission organizations and other regional grid operators -- will ensure that the appropriate electric transmission facilities are built and will provide support to assure that those parties directly benefitting from new transmission expansion pay for the new facilities.

"We must let market prices decide which clean energy solutions are the most effective and innovative, if we're to move to a low carbon economy in a cost effective way," said Ralph Izzo, chairman, president and CEO of PSEG.
"Socializing the cost to transport clean energy from some regions will hurt clean energy developers in other regions, and will ultimately result in higher energy prices for everyone. But if all developers have to include all their costs of delivering clean energy to customers, then they will seek to provide best overall value to customers."

A complete listing of the CFTP's Principles is accessible from the organization's Web site, www.fairtransmission.org.

The Coalition has 10 founding members, including Alliant Energy Corporation, CMS Energy Corporation, Con Edison, Inc., DTE Energy Company, Indianapolis Power & Light Company, Northeast Utilities, PPL Corporation, Progress Energy Inc., Public Service Enterprise Group, and Southern Company.

"The geographic breadth of these companies illustrates the nationwide significance of the debate on transmission policy, and each company's recognition of its local consumers' need to keep energy costs as low as possible," said Sue Sheridan, who is serving as president and chief counsel of the CFTP. A former counsel to the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power who also worked at the Department of Energy and White House Domestic Policy Council, Sheridan is currently an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of International Affairs and the George Washington School of Law.

Bruce Edelston, president of the economic and policy analysis consulting firm, the Energy Policy Group, will serve as the Coalition's executive director.