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US to appeal ruling on key FERC demand response order to Supreme Court


The Obama administration late Friday said it will appeal to the US Supreme Court a lower court ruling that tossed out a key Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order on electricity demand response.

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"The FERC orders that the court of appeals set aside in this case address an integral feature of the nation's wholesale electric-power markets under FERC's jurisdiction -- the rules for participation by demand-response resources -- that is of substantial importance to the proper functioning of those markets and to assuring just and reasonable rates for wholesale power in those markets," Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said in a letter to the court Friday.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in May overturned FERC's Order 745, which required that demand response providers receive market prices in wholesale energy markets. The court ruled that the order infringed on the state's Federal Power Act authority over retail matters.

Verrilli asked the high court to extend to January 15 from December 16 the deadline to file a petition for a writ of certiorari on the matter. "This extension of time is needed to prepare and print the petition."

FERC Chairman Cheryl LaFleur said in a statement she was pleased with the solicitor general's decision. "I believe the commission's ability to regulate demand response in wholesale electric markets is of vital importance. Demand response contributes to reliability, sustainability, and affordability of electric service."

Sarah McAuley, spokeswoman for the DR firm EnerNOC, called the filing "the latest in a series of positive developments," which also included the introduction of Senate legislation providing FERC clear authority to regulate wholesale demand response compensation and the backing of a high-ranking White House official for a challenge.

--Bobby McMahon,
--Edited by Jeff Barber,