The senators want FERC to exercise some oversight and control over the little monsters it has created. According to a press release from Senator Blumenthal:
"The creation of regional transmission operators offered the opportunity for transmission line operators, generators, utilities and others to work cooperatively to develop highly efficient, reliable and cost-effective electricity. Under federal electricity restructuring legislation, RTOs were provided with the authority to develop their budgets and implement electricity distribution and generation policies subject to FERC’s oversight. Because RTOs are predominantly operated by transmission line operators and electricity generators, the consumer must rely on effective intervention by state public agencies charged with representing the consumer’s interests and FERC’s careful scrutiny of RTOs. Unfortunately, the experience since establishment of the seven RTOs in the United States has been one of relatively lax oversight, budgets that have grown out of proportion to the economy and policies that have been subject to intense consumer criticism."
Problem? The regional transmission operators have morphed into industry-controlled cartels who feel they "answer to no one" and cost consumers billions.
It was a nice idea, but it doesn't work. For-profit entities simply cannot regulate themselves under the guise of a not-for-profit organization. Change is needed. Consumers simply cannot afford RTOs any longer.