On March 22, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (“District Court”) dismissed a complaint by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (“DRN”) alleging that its members had been deprived of constitutional due process because FERC is unable to make unbiased determinations on the issuance of natural gas pipeline certificates of public convenience and necessity (“CPCNs”). Specifically, DRN argued that because FERC’s funding mechanism requires FERC to recover its budget through a charge to regulated natural gas companies, it has a pro-industry bias. Continue Reading Federal District Court Dismisses Suit Accusing FERC of Pro-Industry Bias
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
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.
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.
On February 24, 2017, President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Executive Order on Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda (“Executive Order”) which requires the heads of agencies to designate an agency official as the “Regulatory Reform Officer” within 60 days, and establish “Regulatory Reform Task Forces.” The objective of each Regulatory Reform Task Force will be to “evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations to the agency head regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification, consistent with applicable law.” Continue Reading President Trump Orders Agencies to Create “Regulatory Reform Task Forces”
ISO New England, Inc. (“ISO New England”) has published its 2017 Regional Electricity Outlook, an annual report intended to keep stakeholders informed about issues affecting the grid and the ISO’s actions to ensure a modern, reliable power system for New England. The report includes an address from each of ISO New England’s Board Chair and its Chief Executive Officer. Both addresses warn against the threat that inadequate supply of natural gas to fuel generators poses to the ISO New England transmission system’s reliability. Additionally, the report examines the challenge of balancing competitive markets with state environmental policies. The report also provides performance metrics and updates on ISO New England’s initiatives related to cyber security, stakeholder processes, and compliance with the standards and directives issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, and the Northeast Power Coordinating Council.
ISO New England’s 2017 Regional Electricity Outlook can be found here.
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 January 20, 2017, President Donald Trump asked the heads of executive departments and agencies temporarily to refrain from sending regulations to the Office of the Federal Register (“OFR”), withdraw regulations that have been sent to the OFR but have not yet published in the Federal Register, and postpone certain regulations that have been published in the Federal Register but have not taken effect. In addition, on January 30, 2017, President Trump ordered executive departments and agencies to identify at least two existing regulations to be repealed for every new regulation proposed for notice and comment or otherwise promulgated (“January 30 Executive Order”). In a guidance memorandum released February 2, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) clarified, among other things, that the January 30 Executive Order does not apply to independent agencies such as FERC. Continue Reading President Trump Asks Agencies to Freeze Regulations, Orders Agencies to Repeal Two Regulations for Every New Regulation Promulgated
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