FERC v. Electric Power Supply Ass'n

FERC v. Electric Power Supply Ass'n, 577 U.S. ___ (2016), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had the authority to regulate demand response transactions.[1] Justice Scalia's dissenting opinion in this case was the last opinion he wrote before his death in February 2016.[2]

FERC v. Electric Power Supply Ass'n
Seal of the United States Supreme Court
Argued October 14, 2015
Decided January 25, 2016
Full case nameFederal Energy Regulatory Commission v. Electric Power Supply Association et al.
Docket no.14-840
Citations577 U.S. ___ (more)
136 S. Ct. 760; 193 L. Ed. 2d 661
Case history
PriorElec. Power Supply Ass'n v. FERC, 753 F.3d 216, 410 U.S. App. D.C. 103 (D.C. Cir. 2014)
Court membership
Chief Justice
John Roberts
Associate Justices
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
Clarence Thomas · Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Stephen Breyer · Samuel Alito
Sonia Sotomayor · Elena Kagan
Case opinions
MajorityKagan, joined by Roberts, Kennedy, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor
DissentScalia, joined by Thomas
Justice Alito took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.
Laws applied
Federal Arbitration Act

BackgroundEdit

Under the Federal Power Act,[3] the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is allowed to regulate “the sale of electric energy at wholesale in inter state commerce", including any activities that affect the wholesale price of electricity.[4] This case involved a dispute about FERC's attempts to regulate a practice called "demand response".[5] In demand response transactions, wholesale electricity suppliers pay consumers to use less electricity during periods in which electricity is in high demand.[6] In certain circumstances, FERC required suppliers to pay conserving consumers the same price that they would pay electricity producers for generating electricity.[7] A group of electricity suppliers challenged FERC's regulation in court; they claimed that FERC lacked authority to regulate demand response transactions and that even if they did have the power to do so, FERC failed to justify why demand response providers and electricity producers should receive the same compensation.[8]

Opinion of the CourtEdit

Writing for a majority of the Court, Justice Elena Kagan ruled that FERC possessed the "requisite statutory power" to regulate demand response transactions and that FERC adequately justified why demand response providers and electricity producers should receive the same compensation.[9] Justice Antonin Scalia wrote a dissenting opinion in which he argued that FERC did not have authority to regulate demand response transactions.[10] This was the last dissenting opinion written by Justice Scalia before his death in February 2016, though his last majority opinion was in Kansas v. Carr.[2]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ FERC v. Electric Power Supply Assn., No. 14–840, 577 U. S. ____, slip op. at 2, 33–34 (2016).
  2. ^ a b Mark Walsh, A “view” from the Courtroom: The Justices return to a black and gray bench, SCOTUSblog, February 22, 2016.
  3. ^ 41 Stat. 1063, as amended, 16 U.S.C. § 791a et seq.
  4. ^ 16 U.S.C. §§ 824(b), 824e(a).
  5. ^ FERC v. Electric Power Supply Assn., slip. op. at 1-2.
  6. ^ FERC v. Electric Power Supply Assn., slip. op. at 2 (noting that electricity suppliers can "offer electricity both more cheaply and more reliably by paying users to dial down their consumption than by paying power plants to ramp up their production").
  7. ^ FERC v. Electric Power Supply Assn., slip. op. at 2, 10.
  8. ^ FERC v. Electric Power Supply Assn., slip. op. at 2, 11-13.
  9. ^ FERC v. Electric Power Supply Assn., slip. op. at 2, 33-34.
  10. ^ FERC v. Electric Power Supply Assn., slip. op. at 1 (Scalia, J., dissenting).

External linksEdit