WASHINGTON – The U.S. Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear appeals seeking to reinstate a program in Maryland aimed at subsidizing construction of new natural gas-fired electricity plants.
The court agreed to review an appeals court ruling that said the state’s program was blocked by federal law. The court did not act on related petitions concerning a similar program in New Jersey, meaning that case will likely be held for the ruling in the Maryland case.
The Maryland and New Jersey programs were challenged by power company PPL Corp and other generators. The states were backed by companies that wanted to build new plants, including CPV Holdings.
The New Jersey program was enacted by law in 2011. A year later, the Maryland Public Service Commission adopted its own version.
In separate 2014 decisions, appeals courts ruled against both programs, saying they infringed on the U.S. Federal Energy Regulation Commission’s authority to regulate wholesale electricity markets.
New Jersey and Maryland appealed those rulings to the Supreme Court.
The Obama administration had urged the Supreme Court not to hear the case.
The court will issue a ruling by the end of June.
Last week, the court heard oral arguments in another FERC-related case in which the U.S. government was seeking to revive a federal regulation aimed at encouraging efficiency in the electricity market by having electrical grid operators pay users to reduce consumption at peak times.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)
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