Electricity boss doesn’t buy Trump’s coal bailout
John Hughes, the president and CEO of the Electricity Consumers Resource Council, has represented large, industrial users of energy in Washington for more than 30 years. He is retiring from that role at the end of the year and has chosen Devin Hartman from the free-market R Street Institute to lead the trade group. Hughes is steeped in the ins-and-out of dealing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the nation’s electric grid regulator.
Washington Examiner: In the last 20 years or so — and there’s been a lot going on in that time — what do you think is your biggest success? And what are you leaving for Devin to take the reins on? [Devin Hartman of the R Street Institute will be taking over as president and CEO.]
Hughes: Well, I think I’ll answer the last question first. So, what I want Devin to do is to tackle the issue of capacity constructs. Most of the ISOs and RTOs have some sort of capacity market, and we believe that it’s phony. It’s an administrative appendage to the market that dilutes the value of having a market. And so some sort of intellectual honesty has to be brought to bear on the regulations that have created those. So, I think that’ll be one of Devin’s biggest priorities. In recent years, I think a big success we’ve had is educating the commissioners and senior commission staff on the unique features of a large manufacturer. And so, we’ve had some great success in educating both NERC [North American Electric Reliability Corp.] and FERC staff and FERC commissioners.
Washington Examiner: Is that one of the reasons you want Devin to take on the capacity markets because, in a way, they are just a windfall for merchant utilities?