CHANTILLY, VA — The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) has expressed its support for an amendment introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) to transfer authority over anticompetitive utility practices to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

In a letter to the U.S. Senate, SMACNA applauded Sen. Wyden for “demonstrating leadership in attempting to preserve competition for important energy services and to shield ratepayers form the costs and risks of improper financial transactions and conduct between affiliates.”

The FTC recognized in a September 2001 report that, “Policies are needed to prohibit vertically integrated utilities from anti-competitively shifting costs from unregulated operations to their distribution and default service operations.”

As part of the National Alliance for Fair Competition (NAFC), SMANCA has joined thousands of small-business firms competing against utility affiliates in the field of HVAC energy services. According to SMACNA, the abuses associated with improper affiliate transactions most often result in excessive utility rates and artificially low affiliate pricing, leading to an anticompetitive marketplace. The association also feels that such abuses serve to displace more efficient competitors, thereby reducing choices for quality-driven businesses sought by consumers everywhere.

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Publication date: 08/05/2002