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"Power Blackout-Again," New York Times, June 7, 1967.
"Utilities Say They're Better Prepared Than Ever on Northeast Power
ELECTRIC POWER RELIABILITY
TUESDAY, AUGUST 22, 1967
COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE,
The committee met at 10:20 a.m. in room 5110, New Senate Office Building, Hon. Warren G. Magnuson (chairman of the committee), presiding.1
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order.
There will be other Senators attending, but these are busy days, because of the appropriations bills. Senator Cotton will be going to conference on the Health, Education, and Welfare appropriations and I am also a conferee, so I may have to leave a little later.
OPENING STATEMENT OF THE CHAIRMAN
This morning's hearing is on S. 1934, the proposed Electric Reliability Act of 1967. This Federal Power Commission bill is based, in part, on studies of the Northeast power failure in November 1965 and subsequent power disturbances throughout the United States.
While the committee's major interest and concern is S. 1934, it is also considering several other bills which relate to the same subjects which are included in S. 1934. These other bills are S. 683, by myself, relating to antitrust review; S. 1834 and S. 1835, by Senator Metcalf, from Montana, who is here, relating to extra-high voltage transmission: and S. 2227, by Senator Tydings, of Maryland, relating to the construction of transmission lines near national parks and certain other areas.
There are several bills in the committee that, as I say, relate to the same general subject and during the course of these hearings on the major bill, S. 1934, we hope to elicit some information and testimony on them.
The bills along with comments from various agencies will be placed in the record at this point.
'The staff man assigned to the hearings, Donald Brodie, has since left the committee to teach law at the University of Oregon. The staff director, Fred Lordan, and general counsel, Mike Pertschuk, are now handling this legislation.
(The above-mentioned bills and agency comments follow:)
[S. 1934, 90th Cong., first sess.]
A BILL To amend the Federal Power Act to facilitate the provision of reliable, abundant, and economical electric power supply, by strengthening existing mechanisms for coordination of electric utility systems and encouraging the installation and use of the products of advancing technology with due regard for the proper conservation of scenic and other natural resources
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act may be cited as the "Electric Power Reliability Act of 1967".
SEC. 2. In order to further the national policy declared by subsection 202(a) of the Federal Power Act, in favor of "assuring an abundant supply of electric energy throughout the United States with the greatest possible economy and with regard to the proper utilization and conservation of natural resources,” a new part IV is added to the Federal Power Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 791-825r), to read as follows:
"PART IV-REGIONAL COORDINATION
"APPLICATION AND OBJECTIVES OF PART; DEFINITIONS
"SEC. 401. (a) This part shall apply to all bulk power supply systems in the United States.
"(b) This part is intended to further the national policy declared by subsection 202(a) of the Federal Power Act, in favor of assuring an abundant supply of electric energy throughout the United States with the greatest possible economy and with regard to the proper utilization and conservation of national resources, by enhancing the reliability of bulk power supply; by strengthening existing and establishing new mechanisms for coordination in the electric utility industry; by encouraging the comprehensive development of the power resources of each area and region of the United States, to take advantage of advancing technology with due regard for the conservation of land, scenic and other limited resources; by providing that all utility systems and their customers shall have access to the benefits of coordination and advancing technology on fair and reasonable terms; by assuring to the extent feasible that extra-high-voltage facilities include sufficient capacity to meet area, regional, and interregional needs for transmission capacity, including reserve capacity for reliability; by respecting the territorial integrity of utility service to the extent consistent with the public interest; and by drawing upon the cooperation of all segments of the electric utility industry.
"(c) As used in this part, 'person' means a 'person', a 'municipality,' or a 'State' as defined in section 3 of the Federal Power Act, and any department, agency or instrumentality of the United States. The term includes privately, cooperatively, federally, and other publicly owned persons.
"(d) As used in this part, 'bulk power supply facilities' means facilities for generation or transmission which furnish power to points of distribution. In the exercise of its authority under section 413 the Commission may classify or exempt facilities which are not material to the objectives of this part.
"(e) As used in this part, 'extra-high-voltage facilities' means transmission lines and associated facilities designed to be capable of being operated at a nominal voltage higher than two hundred kilovolts between phase conductors for alternating current or between poles for direct current, the construction of which is commenced two years or more after the enactment of this part.
"RELATION TO OTHER PARTS
“SEC. 402. (a) This part supplements parts I, II, and III in order further to promote the reliability, abundance, and efficiency of bulk power supply in the United States. Nothing herein shall modify or abridge authority granted under parts I, II, or III unless specifically so provided.
"(b) The administrative, procedural, and enforcement provisions prescribed by other parts shall apply to this part.
"COOPERATION OF BULK POWER SUPPLY SYSTEMS
"SEC. 403. The purposes of this part should be achieved as far as possible by cooperation among all persons engaged in bulk power supply, whatever their nature.
"REGIONAL POWER COORDINATION ORGANIZATION; ANTITRUST IMMUNITY
"SEC. 404. (a) After appropriate consultation held under procedures to be prescribed by the Commission, with persons engaged or interested in bulk power supply, appropriate Federal agencies and State commissions, the Commission shall secure the establishment of appropriate end effective regional organizations and procedures to carry out regional and interregional coordination. Each regional coordination organization (hereafter 'regional council') shall be open to membership, direct or indirect, by each electric system in the region whatever the nature of its ownership. Some electric systems may in appropriate case be admitted to more than one regional council. The Commission shall designate appropriate staff representatives, who shall participate in the work of the regional councils, except for the ultimate adoption of plans or any other council actions.
"(b) Under such rules as the Commission shall prescribe, each regional council shall file a statement of its organization with the Commission and any amendments thereto. Such statements will be available for public inspection. Within thirty days after adoption by the council, any regional or interregional plans developed by such regional councils shall be submitted to the Commission under such rules as the Commission shall prescribe and shall be made available by it for public inspection, and the Commission shall consider such plans in exercising its responsibilities under this Act, including parts I, II, III, and IV.
"(c) After notice and opportunity for hearing, the Commission may by order determine whether any statement filed under this section is consistent with the objectives of this part. If the Commission determines that the statement is not consistent with the objectives of this part it shall modify it or set it aside. If the Commission approves a statement, and finds further that the effect of the statement upon competition will be insubstantial or will be clearly outweighed by other public interest considerations, actions pursuant to such statement shall not be subject to suit under section 4 of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. 15).
"(d) After notice and opportunity for hearing, the Commission may determine whether any coordination plan submitted under this section is consistent with the objectives of this part. If the Commission so finds, and finds further that the effect of the plan upon competition will be insubstantial or will be clearly outweighed by other public interest considerations, actions pursuant to such plan shall not be subject to suit under section 4 of the Clayton Act (15 U.S.C. 15). while the Commission's approval remains in effect. If the Commission determines that the plan is not in the public interest it shall modify it or set it aside.
"(e) The Commission shall require annual reports from each regional council and such additional reports as it may deem necessary or appropriate to carry out the objectives of this part. The Commission shall annually report to the Congress on the effectiveness of the regional and interregional coordination efforts.
"(f) If the Commission, after notice and after opportunity for hearings, determines that any person engaged in the generation or transmission unreasonably refuses to participation in the creation of a regional council or in effective regional or interregional coordination it may require such person by order to participate in the creation and work of such regional council to the extent the Commission finds necessary to carry out the objectives of this part.
"NATIONAL ELECTRIC STUDIES COMMITTEE
"SEC. 405. The Commission, after consultation with regional councils, shall establish a national committee representative of all elements of the industry to facilitate interregional exchange of views and experience and to consolidate electric industry efforts to investigate major present and future problems in planning and operating of bulk power supply facilities. The committee shall seek to stimulate vigorous scientific and engineering interest in the challenges to achieving reliable and efficient bulk power supply for the United States.
"SEC. 406. To assist it in considering matters coming before it under this part, the Commission may establish one or more advisory coordination review boards and provide for the appointment thereto of experts drawn from the electric utility industry, equipment manufacturers, the academic and research communities, and other persons, not employed by the Commission, drawn from the general public.
"SEC. 407. Subject to such rules and regulations as the Commission may prescribe, a statement or copy of all oral or written agreements for coordinated planning or operation of bulk power supply facilities (including but not limited to agreements for joint ownership of such facilities) shall be lodged with the Commission by or on behalf of the persons participating in such agreement.
"SEC. 408. Upon the recommendation of a regional council or upon its own motion, and after consultation with the regional council, and after public notice and opportunity to comment, the Commission may promulgate regulations setting forth reasonable criteria of national or regional applicability to enhance the reliable planning and operation of bulk power supply facilities in accordance with the objectives of this part, set forth in section 401 (b).
"EXTRA-HIGH-VOLTAGE FACILITIES; NOTICE OF PROPOSED CONSTRUCTION; SUSPENSION : EMINENT DOMAIN; RIGHTS-OF-WAY ON FEDERAL LAND
"SEC. 409. (a) Subject to such rules and regulations as the Commission may prescribe, any person proposing the construction of extra-high-voltage facilities shall file with the Commission, two years before it proposes to commence construction, or such other time as the Commission may prescribe, its proposal which shall include such information, including information as to the routing of the proposed line, as the Commission may require to enable it to determine to what extent the proposed construction and operation of such facilities is consistent with any plan developed by a regional council and is consistent with the objectives of this part. The filing shall state whether the proponent elects to seek right-of-way pursuant to subsection (e) of this section. Notice of such filing and any subsequent changes shall be given in the Federal Register and shall be served upon appropriate regional councils, Federal, State, and local agencies, and such other interested persons as the Commission shall require. The Commission shall afford to any interested persons at least sixty days in which to comment upon such filing.
"(b) No person may commence construction of extra-high-voltage facilities for six months after acceptance of any filing containing the information required pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and for such additional period during which a suspense order of the Commission remains in effect. The Commission shall issue a suspense order whenever the proponent elects to seek right-of-way pursuant to subsection (e) or when the Commission concludes, in its discretion, within six months after acceptance of any such filing, that the proposed construction and operation of such facilities is inconsistent with an approved plan developed by a regional council or otherwise appears not to be consistent with the objectives of this part. The suspense order shall summarize the Commission's reasons for its action and shall be effective for an initial period, to be fixed by the Commission in its discretion, of not more than twelve months. The effectiveness of an unexpired suspense order shall be extended by any order of the Com mission recommending specific modifications in the proposal and setting forth conditions for its approval or scheduling formal hearings or both until ultimate disposition of the matter by the Commission: Provided, That the Commission may, after public notice and consideration of such comments as are received within thirty days of such notice, terminate the suspense order upon a finding that a construction proposal will be consistent with the objective of this part.
"(c) In reviewing extra-high-voltage facilities proposals, the Commission shall use informal procedures, including joint or separate conferences, to the fullest extent feasible. However, the Commission shall not finally disapprove a proposal or confer rights-of-way under this section except after notice and opportunity for hearing.
“(d) At or before the end of the period specified by the suspense order the Commission may issue an order recommending specific modifications in the proposal and setting forth conditions for its approval or setting the matter for hearing. If such modifications and conditions are accepted by the proponent, the Commission shall approve the proposal as modified and terminate the suspense