On May 18, 2017, ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”) and the New England Power Pool Participants Committee (together with ISO-NE, the “Filing Parties”) proposed revisions to the ISO-NE/New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) Coordination Agreement (the “NE/NY Coordination Agreement”) and the term sheet indicating the price of emergency energy sold to Hydro-Quebec Transenergie (“HQTE”) by ISO-NE (the “HQTE EE Pricing Schedule”) to reflect changes that were implemented to ISO-NE’s Market Rule regarding emergency energy purchases and sales.  The NE/NY Coordination Agreement specifies, among other things, the terms and conditions under which a control area will provide energy to the neighboring control area during emergency conditions.  These terms and conditions include the price one control area will charge the other for providing emergency energy.  Continue Reading ISO-NE Proposes Modifications to Pricing for Sales of Emergency Energy to NYISO, Hydro Quebec

On May 9, 2017, the New Jersey Boroughs of Milltown, Park Ridge, and South River (collectively, “New Jersey Boroughs”) filed a Federal Power Act (“FPA”) Section 206 complaint against Public Service Electric & Gas Company (“PSE&G”) seeking to reduce PSE&G’s current base return on equity (“ROE”) of 11.18 percent to a base ROE of no higher than 8.3 percent.  Additionally, the New Jersey Boroughs requested that FERC order refunds and establish the date of the complaint as the refund effective date.

Continue Reading New Jersey Boroughs Request that FERC Reduce PSE&G’s Base ROE from 11.18 Percent to 8.3 Percent

On April 28, 2017, Commissioner Colette Honorable announced that she will not pursue another term as a Commissioner at FERC after her current term expires June 30, 2017.  Commissioner Honorable is serving her first term with the Commission.  After she was appointed by President Obama, she was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on December 16, 2014 (see December 19, 2014 edition of the WER).  Prior to joining FERC, Commissioner Honorable was the Chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission and also was president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners.  Continue Reading Commissioner Honorable Announces She Will Not Pursue Another Term

On May 1-2, 2017, FERC staff held a technical conference on wholesale energy and capacity market design, focused on markets operated by ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”), New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”), and PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) (collectively, “Eastern RTOs and ISOs”).  The goal of the conference was to explore the balance between FERC’s regulation of these competitive wholesale markets and recent efforts by states to ensure that certain categories of generating resources receive sufficient revenue to continue operating.  Stakeholders from various sectors of the electricity industry attended to express concern that these eastern organized markets require regulatory intervention of some sort—with a regulatory response from FERC unlikely to take place until at least a three-Commissioner quorum is established. Continue Reading FERC Holds Technical Conference to Explore Fundamental Design Issues in Eastern Organized Markets

On April 21, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (“Ninth Circuit”) held that: (1) FERC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in ordering the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) and California Power Exchange Corporation (“Cal-PX”) to net sales and purchases over hourly intervals when calculating refunds to entities that participated in the CAISO and Cal-PX markets during the California energy crisis of 2000-2001; and (2) that FERC did act arbitrarily and capriciously in allocating a $5 million refund shortfall only to net buyers instead of all market participants.  The Ninth Circuit opinion is the latest adjudicatory decision in a series of administrative hearings and judicial appeals arising out of the California energy crisis.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Upholds FERC’s Hourly Netting Refund Methodology, but Overturns FERC’s Treatment of $5 Million Refund Deficit Related to California Energy Crisis

On April 24, 2017, PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) submitted an amicus curiae brief in a legal challenge against an Illinois program to provide additional revenue for some of the state’s financially-struggling nuclear energy facilities.  The program allows eligible generators to generate and sell Zero Emission Credits (“ZECs”) and obligates the state’s utilities to buy a certain share of those credits.  In its brief, PJM argued that the program allows uneconomic generators to continue participating in wholesale energy and capacity markets, thereby causing “substantial[] harm” to the markets and other participating generators. Continue Reading PJM Files Amicus Brief Opposing Illinois ZEC Program in Federal District Court Challenge

On April 14, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“DC Circuit”) held that FERC erred in setting the base return on equity (“ROE”) for ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”) at 10.57 percent.  The DC Circuit granted a petition filed by a group of New England transmission owners (“NETOs”), and a separate petition filed by a group of wholesale transmission customers and other consumer-side stakeholders (collectively, “Customers”) located in the New England region.  The DC Circuit vacated the underlying FERC order and remanded the case to FERC for further consideration.

Continue Reading DC Circuit Remands FERC Order on ISO New England Base ROE

On April 20, 2017, staff from the ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”), presented a proposal to its ten-member Board of Directors on how to better incorporate state-subsidized new resources into ISO-NE’s Forward Capacity Market (“FCM”).  The proposal contemplates a two-stage process whereby retiring resources that clear the annual Forward Capacity Auction (“FCA”) can transfer their capacity obligations to state-subsidized generators in exchange for payment and permanent retirement.  If approved by the Board of Directors, stakeholder discussions could begin in May, with associated tariff revisions filed with FERC in December. Continue Reading ISO-NE Staff Kicks off Consideration of Capacity Market Reforms to Manage State-Subsidized Generators

On April 13, 2017 the Energy Storage Association (“ESA”) filed a complaint with FERC, alleging that PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) had unilaterally implemented a series of changes to its Regulation market without FERC’s review and approval, in violation of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”).  ESA contended that its members who participate in the Regulation market had “suffered significant and detrimental financial harm” as a result of PJM’s changes, and that ESA was filing its complaint “to compel PJM to give the Commission the opportunity to determine whether each of these changes are just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory.” Continue Reading Energy Storage Association Alleges Changes to PJM Regulation Market Violate FPA

On April 4, 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“DC Circuit”) held that FERC had erred in finding that the terms of an interconnection agreement between NextEra Desert Center Blythe, LLC (“NextEra”), Southern California Edison Company (“SCE”), and the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) clearly and unambiguously bars NextEra from receiving Congestion Revenue Rights (“CRR”).  The DC Circuit remanded the case to FERC for consideration in light of the identified ambiguity.

Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Rules Against FERC in NextEra Contract Interpretation Dispute