On February 10, 2017, FERC issued a notice announcing a day-long technical conference to be held on Thursday, June 22, 2017. As stated in the notice, the purpose of the conference will be to discuss policy issues related to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System. The Commission has held similar technical conferences on policy issues related to reliability on an annual basis for the last few years (see February 8, 2016 edition of the WER).

An agenda has yet to be released. The conference is free and open to the public, but prospective attendees are encouraged to register online. March 3, 2017 is the deadline for prospective panel participants to submit their nominations through FERC’s online speaker registration form.

The notice announcing the technical conference can be found here.

 

On February 3, 2017, FERC partially granted a complaint against the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) regarding the application of buyer-side market power mitigation rules to demand response resources in NYISO’s installed capacity market (“ICAP”). In its order, FERC found that NYISO’s application of its mitigation rules was unjust and unreasonable as to future demand-side generators. FERC allowed prospective exemptions for such resources, but denied exemptions for such resources currently subject to NYISO market power mitigation. Separately, outgoing Commissioner Bay wrote a lengthy concurrence in which he argued that FERC should reconsider the rationale behind its minimum offer price rule policy (“MOPR”) and its applicability in wholesale electricity markets. Continue Reading FERC Exempts Certain Demand Response Resources from Buyer-Side Mitigation in NYISO; Bay Questions FERC’s Minimum Offer Price Rule Policy Rationale in Concurrence

On February 1, 2017 FERC issued an order approving a settlement between its Office of Enforcement (“Enforcement”) and Houston-based power marketer GDF SUEZ Energy Marketing NA, Inc. (“GSEMNA”) following an investigation into whether GSEMNA violated FERC’s anti-manipulation regulations from May 2011 to September 2013. As part of the agreement, GSEMNA neither admitted to nor denied the alleged market manipulation violations, but agreed to be subject to monitoring and annual compliance reporting as well as to pay a disgorgement of $40.8 million in unjust profits and a civil penalty of $41 million to the U.S. Treasury. Continue Reading FERC and Power Marketer GSEMNA Reach $80 Million Enforcement Settlement over Alleged Market Manipulation

On January 24, 2017, FERC issued an order accepting simultaneous transmission import limit (“SIL”) values for the Southwest United States from a group of transmission owners operating in the region. In the Order, FERC noted its intent to use these SIL values in evaluating updated market power analyses for the Southwest region, and also provided guidance for future filers on how the Commission expects SIL studies to be performed and reported. Continue Reading FERC Issues Order Providing Direction on Simultaneous Transmission Import Limit Studies (“SILS”); Accepts Proposed SILS Values for Southwest Region

On January 19, 2017, FERC denied a request from Vote Solar Initiative and the Montana Environmental Information Center (collectively, “Vote Solar”) that FERC reconsider a November 1, 2016 order (“November Order”) dismissing Vote Solar’s complaint against the Montana Public Service Commission (“Montana Commission”), alleging that the Montana Commission violated section 210 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) by altering the state’s framework for solar projects seeking to be qualifying facilities (“QFs”). In requesting reconsideration, Vote Solar alleged that FERC misconstrued its complaint as being a request for enforcement pursuant to PURPA Section 210(h) and that it was instead a request for FERC to use its remedial authority under Federal Power Act (“FPA”) section 309. In denying the request, FERC explained that the broad language of its regulations does not give FERC greater enforcement authority than the operative statute itself. FERC also reiterated the jurisdiction and standing deficiencies inherent in the complaint, and noted that many of Vote Solar’s substantive concerns were addressed in a recently issued Notice of Intent Not to Act and Declaratory Order in a similar challenge brought by a QF against the Montana Commission. Continue Reading FERC Denies Request to Reconsider Denial of PURPA Complaint by Vote Solar

As part of the ongoing legal fallout from the 2000-2001 California energy crisis, on January 9, 2017, FERC issued an order clarifying that, for purposes of that proceeding, “pricing umbrella” evidence is relevant only for contextual purposes and cannot serve as a basis for finding refund liability. In this order, FERC clarified that “pricing umbrella” evidence may be introduced solely for the purposes of providing context for FERC’s consideration, and that such evidence should not constitute the basis for finding refund liability. Continue Reading FERC Clarifies the Relevance of “Pricing Umbrella” Evidence in the California Energy Crisis Proceeding

On January 4, 2017, FERC issued an order conditionally accepting certain Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”) revisions submitted by the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) in November 2016. The proposed Tariff revisions amend Attachment AE of the SPP Tariff, including the sections governing the Auction Revenue Right (“ARR”) Allocation and Transmission Congestion Right (“TCR”) Offer and Bid submittal processes in SPP’s Integrated Marketplace. Continue Reading FERC Conditionally Accepts Modifications to SPP Integrated Marketplace

On December 6, 2016, FERC issued an order partially denying and partially granting a complaint brought by a coalition of transmission customers (“Coalition”) of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”). The Coalition argued that MISO misapplied portions of its open access transmission tariff (“OATT” or “Tariff”) regarding the 2016/2017 planning year resource auction. Although the Commission rejected the Coalition’s argument that MISO utilized an unjust and unreasonable methodology for calculating Sub-Regional Export and Import constraints for the 2016/2017 auction, FERC found that prospective application of those methodologies was no longer just and reasonable, and directed MISO to modify its Tariff accordingly. Continue Reading FERC Partially Denies and Grants Customer Complaint Regarding MISO Planning Auction and Sub-Regional Export and Import Constraints

On November 30, 2016, FERC issued an order accepting tariff revisions filed by Public Service Company of Colorado (“PSCo”) regarding penalty charges for energy imbalance and generator imbalance services under Schedules 4 and 9 of PSCo’s open access transmission tariff (“OATT”). FERC found the revisions, which PSCo filed to address the influx of variable wind generation on its system, to provide incentives for accurate scheduling from transmission customers. Continue Reading FERC Approves PSCo Tariff Revisions Regarding Energy and Generator Imbalance Penalty Charges

On November 17, 2016, FERC issued Order No. 831, revising its regulations regarding incremental energy offer caps imposed by Regional Transmission Organizations (“RTOs”) and Independent System Operators (“ISOs”). As a result, RTOs and ISOs will be required to cap each resource’s “incremental energy offer”—the portion of an energy resource’s supply market offer that can vary depending on output or demand levels—at the higher of $1,000/megawatt-hour (“MWh”) or that resource’s verified actual or expected cost-based incremental energy offer. RTOs and ISOs must also cap verified cost-based incremental energy offers at $2,000/MWh when calculating locational marginal prices (“LMP”). According to FERC, Order No. 831 will reduce the likelihood that offer caps will suppress LMPs below the marginal cost of production, as well as ensure fair compensation for generators and more efficient resource dispatching from grid operators. Continue Reading FERC Revises Offer Caps in Regional Wholesale Electricity Markets