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WASHINGTON – Energy Secretary Rick Perry urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Friday to make sweeping changes to national electricity rates to prevent any further closures of coal and nuclear plants.

The proposal submitted by Perry, if agreed to, represents a historic shift in how wholesale power markets operate, raising prices for electricity from coal and nuclear while likely reducing profits for the natural gas and renewable companies that have taken over a greater share of the U.S. grid over the past decade.

Perry is asking FERC to change current regulations so power plants would be compensated not only for the electricity they sell onto the grid but also for their "reliability and resiliency."

"The resiliency of the electric grid is threatened by the premature retirements of these fuel-secure traditional baseload resources," Perry wrote in a letter to FERC. "Ensuring that American familes and their businesses have access to reliable, resilient and affordable electricity is vital to the economy, national security and quality of life."

More than 500 coal-powered turbines were shut down between 2002 and 2016, according to the Department of Energy, representing 59 gigawatts of electrical capacity – the equivalent of about 6 percent of the entire grid.

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