On September 28, 2017, FERC accepted the change in status filing submitted by Portland General Electric Company (“Portland General”) and granted Portland General authorization to transact at market-based rates in the Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”) administered by California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”).  Portland General’s change in status filing included a market power analysis examining the entire EIM footprint, as well as an analysis that the Portland General balancing authority area (“BAA”) will not be a submarket within the EIM, once Portland General begins its participation in the EIM on October 1, 2017. Continue Reading FERC Confirms Portland General Electric Company’s Market-Based Rate Authority to Bid into EIM

On September 27, 2017, U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) introduced Senate Bill 1860: A bill to amend section 203 of the Federal Power Act (the “FPA”).  The legislation, dubbed “The Parity Across Reviews Act” (the “Act”), would amend section 203(a)(1)(B) to add a $10 million threshold to the requirement to seek FERC approval prior to a public utility acquiring FERC-jurisdictional facilities.  Additionally, for transactions with a value greater than $1 million, but less than the newly-proposed $10 million threshold, the Act requires FERC to promulgate a rule, within 180 days of the enactment of the Act, that would require a public utility to notify FERC within 30 days of consummating such an acquisition.  Continue Reading Senate Bill Proposed to Add Monetary Threshold to FPA Section 203 Prior Approval Requirement for Facility Acquisitions

On September 29, 2017, United States Department of Energy (“DOE”) Secretary Rick Perry took the unusual step of proposing a rule for final action by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”).  Secretary Perry’s initiative, a DOE-issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) under section 403 of the Department of Energy Organization Act (“DOE Act”) (42 U.S.C. § 7173), urges FERC to act extremely quickly to enact rules requiring regional transmission organizations and independent system operators (“RTOs/ISOs”) to provide just and reasonable rates for “fuel-secure” generation units (e.g., coal and nuclear units).  See Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule, Docket No. RM17-3-000, at 4–5 (Sept. 29, 2017) (“DOE NOPR”).  Continue Reading Department of Energy Proposes FERC-Authorized Full Cost Recovery for Certain Nuclear and Coal Power Generation

On September 20, 2017, FERC rejected the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) proposed revisions to Attachment FF-6 of its Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”).  Specifically, as part of its Order No. 1000 interregional planning and cost allocation efforts, MISO filed a proposed cost allocation plan for interregional projects that terminate wholly outside of MISO.  Ultimately, FERC found that MISO did not demonstrate how its proposed cost allocation plan was just and reasonable and therefore rejected MISO’s filing.  Continue Reading FERC Rejects MISO Tariff Revisions on Interregional Transmission Project Cost Allocation

On September 19, 2017, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (“ENR Committee”) unanimously advanced FERC nominees Kevin McIntyre and Richard Glick to a full vote on the Senate floor.  If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. McIntyre and Mr. Glick will join current FERC Commissioners Cheryl A. LaFleur, Robert F. Powelson, and Chairman Neil Chatterjee to fill all five seats at the Commission.  Upon confirmation, Mr. McIntyre will become the new Chairman of FERC. Continue Reading Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Advances FERC Nominees for Confirmation

On September 20, 2017, FERC rejected Southwest Power Pool, Inc’s (“SPP”) Order No. 825 compliance filing that would have created a demand curve to set scarcity prices for energy shortages.  Specifically, FERC held that SPP’s establishment of a demand curve to set scarcity prices was outside the scope of Order No. 825, which required SPP to establish triggers for shortage pricing, rather than change the actual shortage pricing levels. Continue Reading FERC Rejects SPP’s Proposal to Set Scarcity Prices

On September 20, 2017, FERC issued two final rules and a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NOPR”) on reliability standards for the bulk power system. The final rules—Order Nos. 836 and 837—will become effective sixty days after their publication in the Federal Register.  Parties interested in filing comments on matters discussed in the NOPR must do so within sixty days of when that notice is published in the Federal Register. Continue Reading FERC Issues Final Rules and NOPR to Enhance Bulk Electric System Resilience, Reliability

On September 15, 2017, FERC issued an order determining that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (“NY DEC”) failure to act on Millennium Pipeline Co. LLC’s (“Millennium”) Clean Water Act (“CWA”) permit application before the statutory one-year deadline resulted in a waiver of its authority to issue the permit.  FERC’s decision has the effect of nullifying the NY DEC’s prior denial of Millennium’s permit application.  FERC’s order also allows Millennium to move forward with its “Valley Lateral Project” without the NY DEC’s water quality permit.   Continue Reading FERC Rules that NY DEC Waived Authority on Water Quality Permit for Pipeline Project

On September 14, 2017, the Subcommittee on Energy of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on defining reliability in a transforming electricity industry.  During the hearing, committee members raised concerns about reliability and grid transformation in the face of cybersecurity threats and extreme weather.  FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee testified at the hearing that FERC would continue its role in ensuring “world-class reliability” during this grid transformation.  Continue Reading FERC Chairman Addresses Reliability in House Testimony

On September 8, 2017, FERC rejected an unexecuted amendment to an interconnection service agreement (“Agreement”), which PJM Interconnection, LLC (“PJM”) filed on behalf of Hudson Transmission Partners, LLC (“HTP”). The amended Agreement sought to allow HTP to convert 320 MW of Firm Transmission Withdrawal Rights to Non-Firm Transmission Withdrawal Rights—a conversion opposed by another party to the Agreement, Public Service Electric and Gas Company (“PSEG”), due to its alleged potential impact on PJM’s pending Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (“RTEP”) cost allocation proceedings.  Along with its rejection of the amended Agreement, FERC initiated a Federal Power Act (“FPA”) section 206 proceeding into whether the Agreement, and PSEG’s withholding of consent for the conversion, unjustly and unreasonably restrict HTP’s ability to convert its Firm Transmission Withdrawal Rights. Continue Reading FERC Commences Look into Proposed Conversion of PJM Transmission Withdrawal Rights