Anticipating legal challenges from generators, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved ?general duty? standards for plant operation and maintenance as well as logbook standards for thermal power plants May 6. While the CPUC?s decision allows for generator-preferred Federal Energy Regulatory Commission review, independent power plant owners say the order still has problems because now two agencies will enforce a single set of rules, leading to potential regulatory conflicts. The move is a result of the Legislature trying to rein in generators during the energy crisis. The commission was mandated by SBx2 39 to develop rules to prevent merchant generators from withholding power. Standards ?may have a better chance of withstanding court challenges? if they are folded into California Independent System Operator regulations, subject to FERC review, said Michael Peevey, commission president. There is ?room for comity? with federal regulators, he stressed. But Andrew B. Brown, an attorney representing High Desert Power, pointed to shortcomings of this approach. ?If you have two entities interpreting and enforcing one set of standards, you will eventually get a conflict in what the standards mean,? Brown said. ?You can say there?s a single standard, but if it?s applied differently, you can still get in the same conundrum.? The attorney declined to say whether High Desert plans to file a suit against the decision. The ?general duty? standards, many of which impose broad requirements such as ensuring overall plant safety, will be replaced by more specific operating standards once these are nailed down, Peevey said. Also approved were requirements that thermal plants 50 MW and larger keep logbooks, such as control operator logs. These documents will need to be maintained for a minimum of five years and ?readily available at all times to operators, commission staff and other authorized personnel,? according to the ruling. Nuclear plants, QFs, and distributed-generation installations are exempt from the requirements.