On May 16, 2019, FERC denied several rehearing requests and partially granted clarification of its Order No. 841 regarding the participation of electric storage resources (“ESRs”) in regional markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations (“RTOs”) and Independent System Operators (“ISOs”) (“Order No. 841-A”).  Most notably, FERC upheld its decision not to adopt a state opt-out of ESR participation in wholesale markets.  Commissioner McNamee issued a partial dissent discussing the need to recognize states’ interests in the impacts of Order Nos. 841 and 841-A. Continue Reading FERC Upholds Order on Electric Storage Participation in RTOs/ISOs

On May 16, 2019, FERC rescinded its policy of issuing public Notices of Alleged Violations (“NAV”) after a subject of an investigation has had an opportunity to respond to Office of Enforcement (“OE”) staff’s preliminary findings (“NAV Policy”).  FERC found that the NAV Policy no longer struck an appropriate balance between the benefit of added transparency and the potential negative impacts that the loss of confidentiality may cause to investigative subjects. Continue Reading FERC Rescinds Policy of Issuing Notices of Alleged Violations

On May 14, 2019, FERC granted in part, and denied in part, United Illuminating Company’s (“United Illuminating”) request for approval of three transmission rate incentives for investments in the Pequonnock Substation Project (“Project”).  United Illuminating asked FERC to approve three transmission incentives: (i) a 50-basis point return on equity (“ROE”), (ii) an Abandoned Plant Incentive, and (iii) a Construction Work in Progress (“CWIP”) Incentive.  United Illuminating also requested waivers of several of FERC’s regulatory requirements, including the requirements related to anti-competitive impacts of CWIP recovery and the requirement to file Statement BM under section 35.13(h)(38) of the Commission’s regulations.   In the May 14 Order, FERC granted United Illuminating’s requested Abandoned Plant and CWIP Incentives and its waiver requests, but denied the requested ROE Incentive adder.

Continue Reading FERC Partially Approves Rate Incentives for United Illuminating’s Transmission Project

On May 16, 2019, FERC issued four orders on related complaints against the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) by Tilton Energy LLC (“Tilton”), American Municipal Power, Inc. (“AMP”), and Dynegy Marketing and Trade, LLC/Illinois Power Marketing Company (“Dynegy Companies” or “Dynegy”), as well as a complaint against PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) by AMP and the Northern Illinois Municipal Power Agency (“NIMPA”).  The complaints alleged that MISO’s and PJM’s assessment of congestion and other costs for resources physically located in MISO but pseudo-tied into PJM violated MISO’s and PJM’s Tariffs by imposing duplicative charges.  The complaints also alleged that MISO and PJM subjected the complainants to unjust and unreasonable duplicative congestion charges.  FERC’s orders denied arguments that MISO’s and PJM’s assessment of congestion and other charges violated their respective Tariffs, but found that MISO and PJM may have assessed duplicative congestion charges prior to FERC’s acceptance of revisions to the MISO-PJM Joint Operating Agreement (“JOA”) to address such charges beginning in July 2018.  After consolidating the proceedings, FERC’s orders established hearing and settlement procedures to determine appropriate refunds. Continue Reading FERC Denies MISO/PJM Pseudo-Tie Congestion Complaints; Establishes Hearing and Settlement Procedures to Determine Refunds for Congestion Overcharges

On May 3, 2018, FERC accepted revisions proposed by PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) to its Open Access Transmission Tariff, Amended and Restated Operating Agreement, and Reliability Assurance Agreement Among Load Serving Entities in the PJM Region, to reflect load reductions from Summer-period Demand Response resources in load forecasts for PJM’s capacity market (“Peak Shaving Adjustment”). Continue Reading FERC Accepts PJM Revisions Related to Summer-Period Demand Response Resources

On April 26, 2019, PPL Electric Utilities Corporation (“PPL Electric”) petitioned the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) for review of two FERC rehearing orders that replaced the cost allocation method by which PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) assigns responsibility for a portion of costs for certain facilities that address stability-related reliability issues.  Specifically, FERC’s rehearing orders changed the cost allocation method used for certain facilities, including the Artificial Island Project (“Artificial Island”), that are located in the PJM region. Continue Reading PPL Electric Petitions D.C. Circuit for Review of FERC’s Cost Allocation Method Determinations in PJM

In the April 27, 2019 edition of the Energy Bar Association’s Energy Law Journal, FERC Commissioner Richard Glick and legal advisor Matthew Christiansen published an article titled “FERC and Climate Change,” describing that the actions of the Commission, as well as the family of federal and state agencies, have “substantial consequences” for climate change.  The authors argue that the threat of climate change does not necessitate “a wholesale reinterpretation of the Commission’s jurisdiction or a novel regulatory paradigm,” but rather a consistent application of FERC’s existing mandate.  In addition to discussing the Commission’s role in wholesale electric markets in enabling competition for zero-and-low carbon-emitting technologies (such as solar, wind, batteries and even distributed energy resources), the authors place emphasis on hydroelectric generation as an effective resource for grid decarbonization and that such benefits should be considered in FERC’s existing “public interest” analysis. Continue Reading Commissioner Glick Provides Insight into Climate and Hydro’s Role

On May 6, 2019, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (“Oregon DEQ”) denied a water quality certification under section 401 of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) for the proposed Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) export terminal and its feeder pipeline, the Pacific Connector, to be located on Oregon’s southern coast. Continue Reading Oregon DEQ Denies Jordan Cove Water Quality Certification

On May 9, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) dismissed Otsego 2000 Inc.’s (“Otsego”) petition to set aside a FERC order granting a certificate to Dominion Energy Transmission Inc. (“Dominion”) to construct and operate its New Market Project (“Project”).  Specifically, the D.C. Circuit found that Otsego failed to demonstrate standing to petition the court and that Otsego’s expenditure of resources for litigation was insufficient to demonstrate standing. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Dismisses Challenge to Gas Pipeline Project for Lack of Standing

As part of its overall proposal to implement carbon pricing to incorporate the social cost of carbon emissions in the wholesale power market, New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) staff made a presentation at the Market Issues Working Group (“MIWG”) meeting on April 30, 2019 (“MIWG Presentation”).  The MIWG Presentation set forth NYISO’s proposed methodology to calculate the estimated impact of carbon pricing on locational-based marginal prices (“LBMP”).  Specifically, the MIWG Presentation provides additional details about how NYISO proposes to calculate the location-based marginal price-carbon (“LBMPc”), which would consider the impact of carbon pricing on LBMPs for purposes of subtracting from an energy supplier’s ultimate bid during the market settlement phase.

Continue Reading NYISO Stakeholders Continue to Consider Carbon Pricing Proposal