Washington Energy Report > Troutman Sanders LLP

FERC Disclaims Jurisdiction Over Proposed CNG Export Facility; Commissioner Bay Dissents

On September 19, 2014, FERC, in response to a petition for declaratory order, disclaimed jurisdiction under both section 3 and section 7 of the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) over Emera CNG, LLC’s (“Emera”) construction and operation of compressed natural gas (“CNG”) facilities that will be used to send CNG to the Bahamas via ocean-going tankers.  In reaching its decision, FERC noted that Emera’s proposed facilities would not directly load the CNG onto ships, but would rather compress natural gas at a location where the CNG would first be loaded onto trucks, and then be transported a quarter mile by those trucks to ocean-going tankers. [Read more →]

September 26, 2014   Comments Off

Brian Hunter Settles Natural Gas Trade Manipulation Case with CFTC

On September 15, 2014, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) filed a consent order signed by Brian Hunter, previously a natural gas trader for trading firm Amaranth Advisors LLC (“Amaranth”), pursuant to which Hunter will pay a civil penalty of $750,000, plus post-judgment interest, to resolve allegations that he manipulated the natural gas futures market in 2006.  Additionally, Hunter agreed to be “permanently restrained, enjoined and prohibited from directly or indirectly trading any futures contracts, options on futures contracts, or any other product or financial instrument regulated by the [CFTC].”  [Read more →]

September 26, 2014   Comments Off

FERC Adopts Version 003 of NAESB Standards

On September 18, 2014, the Commission issued Order No. 676-H, which revises its regulations to incorporate by reference, with several exceptions, Version 003 of the Standards for Business Practices and Communication Protocols for Public Utilities, as mandatory and enforceable requirements.  The purpose of the Version 003 standards is to promote a more seamless marketplace for wholesale electricity. [Read more →]

September 22, 2014   Comments Off

ISO-New England Auction Results Take Effect as Operation of Law; FERC Issues Show Cause Order

On September 16, 2014, ISO New England Inc.’s (“ISO-NE”) eighth annual Forward Capacity Auction (“FCA 8”) results took effect by operation of law due to a deadlocked FERC that could not agree to approve or reject the results amid allegations that market power within the auction was not properly mitigated.  As a result, FERC on the same day issued a Show Cause Order requiring ISO-NE to either revise its tariff to allow for independent oversight of import offers prior to each FCA or show cause why it is not required to do so. [Read more →]

September 22, 2014   Comments Off

FERC Issues Order Clarifying Role of Public Power Utilities for Order No. 1000 Transmission Planning

On September 18, 2014, FERC issued an order addressing Order No. 1000 compliance filings, and requests for rehearing regarding prior compliance filings, for the parties within the ColumbiaGrid Transmission Planning region in the Pacific Northwest.  In doing so, FERC clarified the role of public power entities in the regional transmission planning process, explaining that if a public power entity chooses to enroll in a regional transmission planning process, it is bound to the resulting cost allocation determinations.  However, FERC also approved a mechanism whereby a public power entity could refrain from enrolling in the process while still being included in its respective planning process.  Under this framework, if a public power entity is subsequently allocated costs under the regional cost allocation method, it could separately determine whether it would accept those costs based on its statutory authorities. [Read more →]

September 22, 2014   Comments Off

Fifth Circuit Holds that Texas PUC Can Restrict Non-Firm QFs from Forming Legally Enforceable Obligations

On September 8, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (“Fifth Circuit”) upheld a rule issued by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (“PUCT”) which restricts Qualifying Facilities (“QFs”) that generate non-firm power from entering into Legally Enforceable Obligations (“LEOs”).  The PUCT had promulgated the rule as part of Texas’ implementation of FERC’s Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) regulations. The Fifth Circuit reversed the lower court’s finding that such requirements were inconsistent with PURPA, remanding for a further determination.  The Fifth Circuit also vacated the portion of the lower court’s order related to a specific PUCT order as lacking subject matter jurisdiction.    [Read more →]

September 16, 2014   Comments Off

FERC Builds on Analysis of RTO/ISO Uplift Payments, Announces Related Technical Conference

On September 8, 2014, FERC held a technical conference on the subject of “uplift payments” in Regional Transmission Organization (“RTO”)/Independent System Operator (“ISO”) markets.  The conference was held several weeks after the release of Commission Staff’s preliminary analysis on the topic, and is the first of several technical conferences aimed at addressing the broader issue of improving price formation in energy and ancillary services markets.  The next conference will convene on October 28, 2014, and address the issues of offer price mitigation and offer price caps. [Read more →]

September 15, 2014   Comments Off

Energy and Power Subcommittee Holds Hearing on EPA’s Clean Power Plan

On September 9, 2014, the Energy and Power Subcommittee held a hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) proposed Clean Power Plan (“CPP”) – a proposed rule designed to limit carbon dioxide emissions through state-developed plans.  The hearing’s focus was to obtain state officials’ perspectives on the challenges associated with implementing the CPP.  The hearing also marked the third time the Subcommittee has heard testimony on the CPP, which includes testimony from FERC commissioners earlier in the year (see July 29, 2014 edition of the WER). [Read more →]

September 12, 2014   Comments Off

D.C. Circuit Upholds Major Components of FERC Order No. 1000

On August 15, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the major components of FERC Order No. 1000 in the case of South Carolina Public Service Authority v. FERC. [Read more →]

September 10, 2014   Comments Off

D.C. Circuit Vacates FERC Order in Filed Rate Dispute

On August 26, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) vacated and remanded a FERC decision that required a generator to pay network upgrade costs related to its interconnection in the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”).  The D.C. Circuit held that FERC did not justify its reasoning when it departed from its own precedent and required West Deptford Energy, L.L.C. (“West Deptford”) to pay upgrade charges pursuant to cost-allocation provisions of a superseded PJM tariff, rather than pursuant to provisions of the currently-effective tariff. [Read more →]

September 8, 2014   Comments Off