The New England chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists was asked to respond to the New England Power Pool Participants Committee’s decision to ban a trade publication reporter from covering its meetings. The committee has since asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to permanently adopt a press ban amendment that would cement its longstanding practice of denying journalists access, as described in a recent Commonwealth Magazine article.

Here is are response that was officially submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for review:

Giving reporters access to different decision-making bodies has been an important part of our democracy. To hear that a reporter from RTO Insider has recently been barred from participating on the New England Power Pool Participants Committee is troubling. To further learn that the scenario prompted members of the committee to want to permanently ban reporters from participating raises suspicion about what the committee is trying to hide. We at the New England Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists strongly urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject the committee’s proposed amendment as it relates to the press. Not allowing reporters access to public policy debates that will determine changes to the electricity markets in regions, including New England, is doing a disservice to energy consumers. For too long this committee has restricted journalists from covering decisions that directly impact consumers in our region. FERC members need to think long and hard about whether they want to further cement lack of transparency from NEPOOL committee members or if they want restore the public’s trust in this committee by allowing journalists to do their jobs.

 

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