The Senate Energy Committee has voted to repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA), a Depression-era law intended to protect consumers from monopolistic utilities.

PUHCA limits the geographic area a utility holding company may control and requires such a company to be in the same geographic region as the utility it seeks to acquire.

In order to gain Democratic support for the repeal, the Senate panel has also agreed to grant the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) additional powers, granting the Commission the final approval in proposed electric and gas utilities mergers.