In an order issued on March 7, 2017, the United States District Court  for the Eastern District of California (“District Court”) rejected arguments from FERC regarding the scope of review and applicable procedural rules governing the District Court’s review of a market manipulation enforcement proceeding. The District Court held that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) applied to the action and rejected arguments that it was limited to “de novo” review of the administrative record as compiled by FERC. As a result, the District Court ordered FERC to provide discovery to the opposing parties. Continue Reading California District Court Orders Discovery in FERC Enforcement Case

On February 2, 2017, FERC rejected the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc’s. (“MISO”) proposed Competitive Retail Solution (“CRS Proposal”), which would have bifurcated the MISO capacity market into two distinct market clearing processes – the existing Planning Resource Auction (“PRA”) and a newly proposed, three-year forward capacity auction (“FCA”) for jurisdictions that had implemented retail choice initiatives. FERC found that the proposed bifurcated construct could potentially have adverse impacts on price formation in both the PRA and the FCA.

Continue Reading FERC Rejects MISO’s Proposal for Bifurcated Capacity Market Clearing Processes

On December 15, 2016, FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) requesting comments regarding how FERC can ensure that partnerships that own and operate jurisdictional pipelines or public utilities, or similar pass-through entities (collectively, “Partnerships”), are not receiving “a double recovery of [income] taxes” based on FERC’s current income tax allowance (“ITA”) and return on equity (“ROE”) policies. FERC’s NOI comes in response to United Airlines, Inc. v. FERC, 827 F.3d 122 (2016), where the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) held that FERC had not “adequately justified” its current policy of granting such Partnerships an ITA – that is, the authority to recover from their ratepayers as a “cost” the income taxes paid by partner-investors on their shares of partnership income. Continue Reading FERC Questions Recovery of Income Tax Costs by Partnerships and Other Pass-Through Entities

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 December 15, 2016, FERC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NOPR”) that proposed to establish a set of fast-start pricing requirements applicable to regional transmission organizations (“RTO”) and independent system operators (“ISO”). FERC indicated it was issuing the NOPR to address concerns that rates for fast-start resources in RTO and ISO day-ahead and real-time markets do not reflect the value of fast-start resources. Continue Reading FERC Proposes Fast-Start Resource Pricing Rules for RTOs and ISOs

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 29, 2016, FERC granted Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc’s. (“MISO”) request for waiver of (1) the $1,000/MWh energy offer price cap (“Offer Cap”) on incremental energy offers in MISO’s day-ahead and real-time energy markets established in its Open Access Transmission, Energy, and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”), and (2) the process that MISO’s Independent Market Monitor (“Market Monitor”) uses to establish reference levels for generation resources in MISO. Going forward, MISO resources will be allowed to include costs above the $1000/MWh Offer Cap in their supply offers from December 1, 2016, through April 30, 2017.

Continue Reading FERC Grants Waiver of MISO Offer Cap for Winter 2016-2017

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 Pro Forma Generation Interconnection Agreements

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