Unlawful Southeastern Energy Market Remains in Operation Due to FERC Inaction

Nearly six months after a court determined that FERC had wrongfully approved SEEM, FERC has done nothing


Kathryn McGrath, Earthjustice, kmcgrath@earthjustice.org

Ben Schaefer, NRDC, bschaefer@nrdc.org

Aisha Dukule, SELC, adukule@selcdc.org

Environmental advocates and clean energy trade organizations sued the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) yesterday challenging its failure to address the unlawful operation of the Southeastern Energy Exchange Market (SEEM,) an energy market run by utility monopolies including Southern Company, Duke Energy, and Dominion Energy.

In July the D.C. Circuit court issued a ruling determining that FERC had wrongfully approved SEEM, and ordered FERC to intervene and provide a remedy. In the nearly six months since that order, FERC has done nothing, leaving in place illegal market rules that affect nearly 60 million customers to this day. The parties are filing a petition for review in the D.C. Circuit, seeking review of FERC’s inaction on the recent decision and urging it to reconsider its approval of the market.

See more information on SEEM and the July ruling.

Reactions from the plaintiff groups:

“SEEM remains operational today almost entirely due to FERC’s refusal to right a clear wrong. Procedural smokescreens are not a valid reason to keep hurting customers and allowing discriminatory practices to continue. FERC needs to take action to support customers, competition, fair markets, and clean energy in the South,” said Caroline Reiser, senior staff attorney at the Sustainable FERC Project at NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council).

“Last July, the court found that FERC’s approval of SEEM’s discriminatory transmission service was unreasonable and its refusal to hear Petitioners’ original challenge to the entire market scheme was unlawful. FERC has failed to promptly remedy either of these findings, leaving in place an unlawful power pool that continues to advantage monopoly utilities such as Southern Company, Duke Energy, and Dominion Energy against independent, low-cost competitors,” said Earthjustice senior attorney Danielle Fidler

“FERC must swiftly implement the court’s recent decision and end SEEM’s discriminatory practices that favor monopoly utilities over clean, competitive generation sources. Every day of inaction costs customers across the region and leaves them vulnerable to weather-related service disruptions as winter approaches,” said Nick Guidi, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center

A profile of power supply lines against a sunset.

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