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 a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) in which it proposed to amend its regulations to require each Regional Transmission Organization and Independent System Operator (“RTO/ISO”) to revise its tariff to: (i) establish a participation model consisting of market rules that, recognizing the physical and operational characteristics of electric storage resources, accommodates their participation in organized wholesale electric markets; and (ii) define distributed energy resource aggregators as a type of market participant that can participate in organized wholesale electric markets under the participation model that best accommodates the physical and operational characteristics of its distributed energy resource aggregation. FERC stated that it was taking this action “to remove barriers to the participation of electric storage resources and distributed energy resource aggregations” in RTO/ISO markets, pursuant to its statutory obligation under the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) to ensure that RTO/ISO tariffs are just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory or preferential. Continue Reading FERC Issues NOPR Proposing to Better-Integrate Electricity Storage into Organized Wholesale Markets

On November 17, 2016, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) in which it proposed modifications to its pro forma interconnection agreements that would require new generating facilities to install and enable primary frequency response equipment as a condition of interconnection. FERC explained that the proposed modifications are intended to address industry-wide reliability concerns related to declining frequency response performance. Continue Reading FERC Issues NOPR Proposing to Include Primary Frequency Response Provisions in <em>Pro Forma</em> Generation Interconnection Agreements

On November 4, 2016, FERC issued an order denying a complaint filed by HORUS Central Valley Solar 1, LLC and HORUS Central Valley Solar 2, LLC (jointly, “HORUS”) against the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”). In the complaint, HORUS requested that the Commission prevent CAISO from imposing interconnection procedures and study requirements in addition to those already imposed on HORUS by the Western Area Power Administration (“WAPA”). In denying the complaint, FERC reaffirmed its existing policy that generators must obtain transmission service at or beyond the point where facility ownership changes, as well as beyond the interconnection point with the wider integrated grid. Because HORUS sought to connect to WAPA-owned interconnection facilities, and those facilities in turn interconnected with CAISO, HORUS was required to comply with both WAPA’s and CAISO’s interconnection procedures. Continue Reading FERC Upholds Applicability of CAISO Interconnection Procedures for Third-Parties Directly Interconnecting to WAPA-Owned Facilities

On November 1, 2016, FERC dismissed a complaint filed by the Vote Solar Initiative and the Montana Environmental Information Center (collectively, “Vote Solar”) against the Montana Public Service Commission (“Montana Commission”) alleging that the Montana Commission violated section 210 of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) by suspending NorthWestern Energy’s (“NorthWestern”) obligation to adhere to a standard rate for solar qualifying facilities (“QFs”) with a nameplate capacity between 100 kW and 3 MW. FERC dismissed the complaint on the grounds that: (i) it does not have jurisdiction to order the Montana Commission to take or not take particular actions; and (ii) Vote Solar is neither a QF nor an electric utility, and therefore is not permitted to file a petition for enforcement pursuant to section 210 of PURPA. Continue Reading FERC Dismisses Vote Solar PURPA Complaint Against Montana Commission, Citing Lack of Jurisdiction and Standing

On October 28, 2016, FERC issued an order that both partially accepted compliance filings and also denied rehearing requests from PJM Interconnection, LLC (“PJM”), Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) and MISO Transmission Owners regarding Order No. 1000 interregional compliance filings. Of particular concern for the Commission was the parties’ MISO-PJM Joint Operating Agreement (“MISO-PJM JOA”), and whether it failed to satisfy certain required Interregional Cost Allocation Principles. This is the third such order to address the parties’ compliance with the interregional transmission coordination and cost allocation requirements of Order No. 1000. Continue Reading FERC Denies Rehearing of PJM and MISO Order No. 1000 Interregional Compliance Filings

On October 26, 2016, FERC denied a rehearing request from San Diego Gas & Electric Company (“SDG&E”), Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and Southern California Edison Company following a March 2, 2016 order wherein FERC allowed only a 50 percent cost recovery in the event that SDG&E’s South Orange County Reliability Enhancement (“SOCRE”) transmission project is abandoned or canceled. As the Commission reiterated, utilities are generally allowed 100 percent cost recovery for abandoned or canceled projects only after a project is found eligible for “Abandonment Incentives,” whereas only 50 percent cost recovery is typically allowed for costs incurred before such determination. Thus, because SDG&E was not granted the Abandonment Incentive until FERC issued its March 2 order, FERC denied SDG&E’s request for an Abandonment Incentive for 100 percent of the prudently incurred costs prior to March 2, 2016. In reaching this conclusion, the Commission noted, “it would be reasonable to infer” that utilities are required to request eligibility for Abandonment Incentives before incurring significant expenditures on a transmission project. Continue Reading FERC Upholds Denial of Full Retroactive Abandonment Costs for SDG&E

On October 21, 2016, FERC terminated the West-wide must-offer requirement imposed on public and non-public utility sellers in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (“WECC”) during the California Energy Crisis of 2001. FERC also terminated the associated requirement that all sellers in WECC must post daily the amount of capacity that they have for sale. In terminating the requirements, FERC found that “[i]n light of the passage of time and significant improvements to California’s wholesale electricity markets over that time,” the requirements produce “little or no benefits today.” The termination of the requirements is effective February 24, 2016. Continue Reading FERC Terminates West-Wide Must-Offer Requirement in WECC

On September 30, 2016, FERC accepted the change in status filing submitted by Puget Sound Energy, Inc. (“Puget”) and certain affiliated generators. The filing informed FERC that Puget intended to join the Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”) administered by the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) beginning on October 1, 2016. FERC accepted the change in status filing and authorized Puget to transact at market-based rates (“MBR”) in the EIM, based on Puget’s market power analysis submitted (and supplemented) as part of the change in status filing. Continue Reading FERC Accepts Puget Sound Energy’s EIM Filing and Authorizes Market-Based Rate Transaction Ability