Witnesses representing public power providers who testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources Thursday expressed grave concerns that Department of Energy proposals would increase costs and fundamentally alter the public power market.

The group was responding to a March 16 memorandum penned by Energy Secretary Steven Chu that proposed changes to the way the nation’s four Power Marketing Administrations transmit and price energy from federally owned hydroelectric dams. The memo also called for more “modern” oversight of the administrations. The PMAs distribute power to thousands of local utility companies in 20 states, accounting for about 42% of the power grid of the continental United States.

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