Supreme Court case on electricity regulation could have wide-ranging implications
The core issue of a soon-to-be U.S. Supreme Court case involves a principle as old as the United States and a consumer energy practice that stands to grow in the future.
Last week, the justices agreed to weigh what was, on paper, the case’s central question of federalism: Was the Obama administration encroaching on states’ rights when it issued a rule to encourage large energy consumers to cut back use during times the electric grid is most strained?
Though the question has parsed the fine details of U.S. electricity regulation — wholesale markets fall under federal authority, while retail markets fall to the states — the outcome could have more straightforward and wide-ranging implications for both power companies and businesses.
Generally, wholesale markets involve transactions from one supplier to another supplier, while retail markets involve transactions from a supplier to a end customer.
The case has pitted the traditional measurement of power, the megawatt, against the popular term for a megawatt of energy saved, the “negawatt.”