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Jimmy Carter 41 Years Later

The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, which everyone inelegantly calls PURPA, was proposed by President Jimmy Carter and enacted on November 9, 1978.

Forty-one years later, on September 19 of this year, FERC adopted a NOPR to consider updating PURPA’s regulations. I know because virtually every association in town — Washington D.C. — has sent me their reactions pro and con.

In the year that PURPA was enacted, cult leader Jim Jones told nine hundred followers to commit suicide in Guyana, New York City serial killer Son of Sam was convicted, Grease, Saturday Night Fever, Animal House, Heaven Can Wait and Close Encounters of the Third Kind were showing at theaters, Illinois Bell introduced the first cell phone, Anwar al-Sadat and Menachem Begin were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their Camp David Accords, and top TV programs were Happy Days, Little House on the Prairie and Charlie’s Angels. Ok, that was indeed a while ago.

Can we agree a lot has changed since then? I think so. In the electric industry as well. So, I know some groups won’t be happy when I say this, but here goes. It does seem like the time has come to take a hard look at these aging regs.