FERC Oversight of Energy Markets Isn’t Working, But There’s a Better Way

by William Yeatman on May 20, 2014

in Blog

Yesterday I participated on a panel at the Cato Institute that addressed FERC oversight of energy markets, in the context of the Commission’s high-profile accusations of market manipulation leveled against two investment partnerships run by twin brothers Rich and Kevin Gates. Their plight has been the subject of a number of Wall Street Journal editorials: See here and here.

Kevin Gates spoke first, and I followed. I start by discussing the inadequacies of FERC’s oversight of energy markets, the biggest of which being the Commission’s refusal to clearly define “market manipulation.” Then, I argue that energy markets are too complex, and evolving too fast, to allow for effective federal oversight. Because regulation is impossible, I propose an alternative: competitive discipline engendered by liberalized markets. Watch below. Full event description below the break.

Mugged by the State: When Regulators and Prosecutors Bully Citizens

Featuring Kevin Gates, Vice President, Powhatan Energy Fund; William Hurwitz, M.D., Pain Treatment Specialist; Lawrence Lewis, Engineer and Building Manager; and William Yeatman, Senior Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute; moderated by Tim Lynch, Director, Project on Criminal Justice, Cato Institute.

The federal regulatory code has become so voluminous that it now bewilders ordinary citizens. The web of rules and regulations is now so vast that people can become ensnared in circumstances where they meant no harm. Even when there is no infraction, it can be financially ruinous to mount a legal defense against powerful agencies that seem bent on coercing a plea deal or settlement. And what about the reputations, livelihoods, and civil liberties that are sacrificed in that process? Join us for a discussion of these troubling trends and what can be done about them.

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