In an order issued on March 7, 2017, the United States District Court  for the Eastern District of California (“District Court”) rejected arguments from FERC regarding the scope of review and applicable procedural rules governing the District Court’s review of a market manipulation enforcement proceeding. The District Court held that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) applied to the action and rejected arguments that it was limited to “de novo” review of the administrative record as compiled by FERC. As a result, the District Court ordered FERC to provide discovery to the opposing parties. Continue Reading California District Court Orders Discovery in FERC Enforcement Case

On March 10, 2017, FERC Secretary Kimberly D. Bose (“Secretary Bose”) issued a notice that East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Inc.’s (“EKPC”) application to terminate its requirement pursuant to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) to purchase electricity from qualifying facilities was deemed denied without prejudice due to FERC’s lack of quorum (see February 21, 2017 edition of the WER). Continue Reading EKPC’s Application Requesting FERC Terminate PURPA PPA Requirement Deemed Denied Due to Lack of Quorum

On March 9, 2017, FERC issued notice that FERC staff will convene a technical conference on June 26, 27, and 28, 2017 to explore opportunities for increasing market and planning efficiency through improved software. FERC staff will facilitate a discussion regarding advances in market modeling that have the potential to improve efficiency. FERC will accept comments following the conference, with a deadline of July 31, 2017. Continue Reading FERC to Convene Technical Conference on Increasing Real-Time and Day-Ahead Market Efficiency through Improved Software

According to various reports, President Donald Trump plans to appoint Kevin McIntyre as FERC Chairman, and Neil Chatterjee and Rob Powelson as FERC Commissioners, to fill the three vacant Commissioner seats at FERC. All three potential appointees are Republicans, whereas the current Commissioners—Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur and Commissioner Collette Honorable—are Democrats. Continue Reading Reports Suggest President Trump Plans to Appoint McIntyre as FERC Chairman, Chatterjee and Powelson as FERC Commissioners

On March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States denied a petition to review FERC’s requirement in Order No. 1000 that transmission providers remove from their tariffs and agreements provisions granting incumbent transmission owners a right of first refusal (“ROFR”) to construct transmission facilities selected in a regional transmission plan (see April 13, 2016 edition of the WER). The October 14, 2016 petition, filed by a group of Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) transmission owners, requested review of an April 8, 2016 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (“Seventh Circuit”) upholding FERC’s requirement.

The denial of the petition for writ of certiorari means that the Seventh Circuit’s April 8, 2016 ruling will stand. The case is docketed in Case No. 16-531.

On March 3, 2017, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) filed revisions to its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”) to implement a Resource Adequacy Requirement (“RAR”) applicable to all entities responsible for serving load (“LREs”) within the SPP Balancing Authority Area (“BAA”). SPP seeks to implement the RAR for the forthcoming summer period from June 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017, while delaying the assessment of penalties for non-compliance until the 2018 RAR cycle.

Continue Reading Southwest Power Pool Files Resource Adequacy Requirements

On March 6, 2017 the Wyoming Pipeline Authority (“WPA”) requested rehearing of FERC’s February 3, 2017 Delegation Order (“Delegation Order”).  In the filing, the WPA asserted that the Delegation Order exceeds FERC’s statutory authority because it purports to authorize agency staff members to take action that would not be possible for FERC itself to take due to the current lack of quorum.  This deficiency, WPA argued, can only be cured through the appointment of new Commissioners. Continue Reading Wyoming Pipeline Authority Challenges Legality of FERC Delegation Order

On February 24, 2017, the Balancing Authority of Northern California (“BANC”) – acting on behalf of its member, Sacramento Municipal Utility District – entered into an Implementation Agreement with the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) to participate in CAISO’s western Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”). BANC had announced in October of 2016 that it would begin negotiations on behalf of its members to develop the Implementation Agreement. Going forward, participation in the EIM will require participating transmission service providers in the BANC balancing authority area to revise their open access transmission tariffs to reflect CAISO’s rules and procedures governing the EIM and to execute service agreements associated with the EIM.

Continue Reading BANC Enters California Energy Imbalance Market

On February 28, 2017 FERC Staff released their Energy Infrastructure Update for January 2017. In these monthly reports, Staff provides updates on various projects in the natural gas, hydropower, electricity generation, and electricity transmission sectors. Continue Reading FERC Staff Issues Energy Infrastructure Update for January 2017

On March 2, 2017, the U.S. Senate voted 62-37 to confirm Rick Perry as the Secretary of the Department of Energy (“DOE”). Secretary Perry will succeed Dr. Ernest Moniz. Prior to his confirmation as Secretary of the DOE, Secretary Perry was Governor of Texas from December 2000 to January 2015, qualifying as the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

After being sworn in, Secretary Perry stated, “It is an honor and privilege to serve as the Secretary of the [DOE]. As Secretary, I will advocate and promote American energy in all forms.”

A record of the vote on Secretary Perry’s confirmation is available here. The DOE’s press release on the swearing in of Secretary Perry is available here.