Federal Power Act—Preemption

Hughes v. PPL Energyplus, No. 14-614
CPV Maryland v. PPL Energyplus, No. 14-623

The Federal Power Act splits authority among states, utilities, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). States regulate generation facilities and retail rates, while FERC has exclusive jurisdiction over regulation of wholesale rates. Maryland entered into an agreement with CPV Maryland LLC to construct a power plant in Maryland that would sell energy in federal interstate wholesale markets, in exchange for certain subsidies based on the clearing price for energy sold on the wholesale market. The Supreme Court consolidated two cases and granted certiorari to determine whether Maryland’s agreement is preempted by the Federal Power Act under theories of field or conflict preemption.