The FERC, which regulates wholesale electricity markets, directed power grid managers in the Northeast and in the South to develop broad regional power transmission management organizations.
By unanimous votes, the agency rejected proposals in both regions of the country for smaller geographical markets. The FERC kicked back proposals for separate regional transmission organizations in New England, New York and the mid-Atlantic states. Regulators said the parties should develop a single regional organization covering all three areas.
At the same time, the commission said it wanted a broad organization covering most of the Southeast as well. In both cases, the agency directed that a mediator help the regions develop the new regional power market systems.
The commissioners have maintained that large, regional power management organization are necessary if electricity is to flow freely in a competitive marketplace.
``The actions will go a long way toward facilitating ... more efficient regional power markets,'' said Lynne Church, president of the Electric Power Supply Association, which represents independent power producers. The vote was the first on the issue since two new commissioners--Pat Wood and Nora Brownell, both appointed by President Bush--joined the commission.