On March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States denied a petition to review FERC’s requirement in Order No. 1000 that transmission providers remove from their tariffs and agreements provisions granting incumbent transmission owners a right of first refusal (“ROFR”) to construct transmission facilities selected in a regional transmission plan (see April 13, 2016 edition of the WER). The October 14, 2016 petition, filed by a group of Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) transmission owners, requested review of an April 8, 2016 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (“Seventh Circuit”) upholding FERC’s requirement.

The denial of the petition for writ of certiorari means that the Seventh Circuit’s April 8, 2016 ruling will stand. The case is docketed in Case No. 16-531.

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”

Since Commissioner Norman Bay’s departure from FERC on February 3, 2017 created the absence of the requisite three-Commissioner quorum necessary for the Commission to vote (see January 31, 2017 edition of the WER), FERC Staff has continued to act on certain pending matters under the authority delegated to it by the Commission on February 3, 2017 (see February 3, 2017 Troutman Sanders Alert). Continue Reading FERC Staff Acting Under Delegated Authority in the Absence of Three-Commissioner Quorum

On January 30, 2017, FERC granted in part a request for rehearing of its May 16, 2013 order, which accepted in part and rejected in part the New York Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“NYISO”) August 19, 2011 compliance filing implementing Order No. 745. Continue Reading FERC Grants Rehearing in Part on NYISO Order No. 745 Compliance Filing

On January 26, 2017, President Trump appointed Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur Acting Chairman of FERC. Acting Chairman LaFleur has been a member of the Commission since 2010, and previously served as Acting Chairman from November 2013 to July 2014, and as Chairman from July 2014 until April 2015. Continue Reading Commissioner LaFleur Appointed Acting Chairman of FERC; Commissioner Bay Resigns, Preventing Quorum Needed for FERC Action

On January 19, 2017, FERC issued a Policy Statement providing guidance on the ability of electric storage resources to receive cost-based rate recovery for certain services, while also receiving market-based revenues for providing separate market-based rate services in Regional Transmission Organizations (“RTOs”) and Independent System Operators (“ISOs”). Continue Reading FERC Issues Policy Statement on Electric Storage Cost Recovery

On January 11, 2017, the United States House of Representatives (“House”) passed the Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017, which would, among other things, end the Chevron doctrine of requiring judicial deference toward administrative agencies with respect to the interpretation of statutes that the agency is charged with administering. Continue Reading House Passes Bill That Would End <em>Chevron</em> Deference

In December, 2016, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) released its 2016 Long-Term Reliability Assessment (“LTRA”). Among its key findings, NERC projected that the capacity reserve margin—the primary metric used to measure resource adequacy—would fall below its target level in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) region, and could also fall below its target level in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”) region, depending on the outcome of certain pending regulatory proceedings. NERC also made a number of recommendations designed to address identified reliability issues. Continue Reading NERC Publishes 2016 Long-Term Reliability Assessment, Warns of Shortages in MISO and ERCOT

On December 15, 2016, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) in which it proposed to revise its regulations and the pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Procedures (“LGIP”) and pro forma Large Generator Interconnection Agreement (“LGIA”). According to FERC, the proposed reforms could help “improve the efficiency of processing interconnection requests for both transmission providers and interconnection customers, maintain reliability, increase energy supply, balance the needs of interconnection customers and transmission owners, and remove barriers to needed resource development.” Comments on the proposed reforms in FERC’s NOPR are due 60 days after publication of the NOPR in the Federal Register. Continue Reading FERC Proposes Generator Interconnection Changes

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