On April 9, 2018, PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) filed two alternative proposals to address supply-side state subsidies that, as PJM argues, could otherwise depress prices in PJM’s capacity market, the Reliability Pricing Model (“RPM”).  As presented by PJM, its “Capacity Repricing” proposal would establish a two-stage capacity market to accommodate subsidized resources, while the other proposal, the “MOPR-Ex proposal,” would expand PJM’s use of the Minimum Offer Price Rule (“MOPR”) to address subsidized resource entry.  With PJM’s filing, the issue of how to address out-of-market capacity market subsidies returns again to FERC exactly one month after a divided Commission approved a similar filing from the ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”) (see March 20, 2018 edition of the WER). Continue Reading PJM Files Two Alternate Proposals to Address State-Subsidized Resources in Capacity Markets

On March 30, 2018, FERC issued an order establishing a technical conference and partially granting one of two complaints against various changes to the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) frequency regulation market.  In partially granting one complaint, FERC found that PJM’s tariff is unjust and unreasonable in so far as it omits the methodology for calculating certain regulation-related cost curves, as well as the parameters governing certain regulation market signals.  In the forthcoming technical conference, FERC intends to consider both: (1) whether PJM’s recent frequency regulation market changes hamper the full participation of storage resources, for example, to provide regulation services, and (2) whether PJM’s regulation market design as a whole is consistent with prior FERC precedent. Continue Reading FERC Establishes Technical Conference Regarding PJM Frequency Regulation Complaints

On April 3, 2018, FERC pre-approved numerous utilities’ request to enter into certain future transmission system related transactions in the event of a catastrophic grid reliability event (“Triggering Event”).  As a result, participant-utilities in the Regional Equipment Sharing for Transmission Outage Restoration Agreement (“RESTORE Agreement”) are eligible to purchase certain replacement transmission system equipment (the “Proposed Transactions”) from other participant-utilities if there is a Triggering Event that impacts transmission service capabilities.  In addition, FERC also granted the utility-applicants’ (“Applicants’”) request for waiver of certain affiliate purchase restrictions in the event that qualifying transactions between affiliates becomes necessary. Continue Reading FERC Approves Regional Equipment Sharing Program

On March 29, 2018, FERC issued an order accepting proposed modifications to the methodology used to evaluate the availability of resource adequacy (“RA”) resources and resulting charges and payments under the Resource Adequacy Availability Incentive Mechanism (“RAAIM”) administered by the California Independent Operator Corporation (“CAISO”).  In the order, FERC agreed that CAISO’s proposal addressed identified problems such as overweighting certain types of resource adequacy capacity and discouraging parties from providing other types of capacity. Continue Reading FERC Accepts Modifications to CAISO’s RAAIM Charges and Payment Methodology

 On March 29, 2018, FERC issued an order granting a limited tariff waiver request by the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) relating to participation requirements for certain demand response resources in the California Public Utilities Commission’s (“CPUC”) Demand Response Auction Mechanism (“DRAM”) with delivery obligations between April-October in 2018 and 2019.  The waiver, which was necessitated by recent changes in CAISO’s resource adequacy program, will allow CPUC-identified DRAM resources to meet their contractual and regulatory obligations.  In granting the waiver, however, FERC stated that DRAM contracts executed after the date of the order and that do not conform with current CAISO requirements should not be eligible for the waiver. Continue Reading FERC Grants CAISO Waiver Request for DRAM Resources Impacted by Availability Hours Change

On March 19, 2018, FERC issued an order terminating its proceeding under section 206 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), accepting Idaho Power Company’s (“Idaho Power”) updated market power analysis, and concluding that Idaho Power successfully rebutted the presumption of market power.  In doing so, FERC concluded that Idaho Power satisfied the Commission’s standards for market-based rate authority in its own Balancing Authority Area (“BAA”).  In finding that Idaho Power had rebutted the presumption of market power, FERC relied on Idaho Power’s delivered price test (“DPT”) analysis and various sensitivity analyses using transaction data from both the Idaho Power BAA and an adjacent trading hub. Continue Reading FERC Finds Idaho Power Lacks Market Power in Its Own BAA and Terminates FPA Section 206 Proceeding

On March 9, 2018, a divided FERC approved the Competitive Auctions with Sponsored Policy Resources (“CASPR”) proposal submitted by the ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”). Developed through an extensive stakeholder process that began in 2016, CASPR was promoted by ISO-NE as a mechanism to integrate out-of-market state resource policies that might otherwise suppress capacity market prices in ISO-NE’s capacity market. A divided FERC approved the proposal as a just and reasonable accommodation of state policies, with Commissioner Powelson dissenting, arguing that the proposal dilutes market signals and “threatens the viability” of ISO-NE’s capacity market. Commissioners LaFleur and Glick concurred with the outcome, but criticized the order’s guidance on adapting markets to state energy policies, and reliance on minimum offer pricing rules (“MOPRs”) as the “standard solution” to achieve that end. Continue Reading A Divided FERC Approves ISO-NE’s Capacity Market Changes to Accommodate State Subsidized Resources

In a decision issued on March 6, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit” or the court) upheld a series of FERC orders declining to direct Entergy Services Inc. (“Entergy”) to pay refunds for previously misallocated capacity costs.  The D.C. Circuit found that FERC adequately explained its reasoning and clarified that—contrary to previous assertions—the Commission has no general policy of ordering refunds in cases involving flawed rate design, and that it had adequately explained that such a refund order would be inequitable in this instance. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Affirms FERC Refund Denial in Louisiana PSC Cost Allocation Challenge

In dual orders issued on February 28, 2018, FERC affirmed that the current resource adequacy requirements of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) remain just and reasonable, and simultaneously rejected an earlier MISO filing that would have imposed additional resource adequacy program changes.  The rejection of MISO’s earlier filing came after the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) granted FERC a voluntary remand to reconsider its previous conditional acceptance in light of NRG Power Marketing, LLC. v. FERC (“NRG”). Continue Reading FERC Reaffirms Current MISO Resource Adequacy Program, Cites Recent D.C. Circuit Decision in Separate Rejection of Other Resource Adequacy Proposals on Remand

On February 14, 2018, FERC accepted a suite of system functionality enhancements to the Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”) proposed by the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”).  The enhancements, which became effective the following day, included automated matching of import/export schedule changes between resources inside and outside the EIM, as well as allowing EIM entities to use CAISO’s settlement process to address base energy transfer differences.  As CAISO explained in its proposal, the requested enhancements will improve the EIM overall, as well as facilitate the entrance of Powerex Corp. and Idaho Power Company into the market on April 4, 2018. Continue Reading FERC Accepts CAISO EIM System Functionality Enhancement Proposal