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Senate votes to give regional groups primary authority over power reliability

March 15, 2002 — The U.S. Senate Thursday voted to give regional electricity associations the main authority to maintain power reliability, rather than give the authority to federal regulators.

The Senate had considered two opposing amendments to their version of the energy bill, Senate Bill 517 — in the amendment not selected, primary authority for power reliability would have been in the hands of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), Reuters News Service reported.

The Senate’s plan keeps authority centered in an existing board – the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC). If the bill passes, the amendment would make it mandatory for electric utilities to comply with NERC’s rules.