On March 15, 2018, FERC issued three interrelated orders regarding the creation of a new Transco within the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”), the integration of a new Transmission Owner within SPP, and the allocation of existing transmission costs for new transmission owners within the region.  The package of orders stems from South Central MCN LLC’s (“South Central”) acquisition of transmission facilities from a public power entity, the City of Nixa, Missouri. Continue Reading FERC Issues Orders Regarding SPP’s Allocation of Existing Facility Transmission Costs for New Transmission Owners

On March 8, 2018, President Donald Trump signed an order that enacts tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from all overseas countries, while exempting Canada and Mexico from such tariffs for now.  The proclamations signed by the President will institute a tariff of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum imports.  The tariffs are expected to become effective March 23, 2018. Continue Reading Trump Orders Steel and Aluminum Tariffs

On March 5, 2018, FERC accepted PJM Interconnection, L.LC.’s (“PJM”) revisions to the appendices to Schedule 12 of its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”).  Under Schedule 12, PJM annually files updates to the cost responsibility assignments for transmission enhancement and expansion projects selected in PJM’s Regional Transmission Plan (“RTEP”).  Through the Tariff revisions, PJM sought to update load-ratio share and solution-based distribution factor (“DFAX”) cost allocations in the appendices to Schedule 12 for Regional Facilities, Necessary Lower Voltage Facilities, and Lower Voltage Facilities.  Additionally, pursuant to prior FERC orders issued in late-2017, PJM’s Tariff revisions sought to reduce the cost responsibility assignments under the appendices of Schedule 12 of PJM’s Tariff to certain merchant facilities—including, Hudson Transmission Partners and Linden VFT, LLC (together, the “Merchant Facilities”)—to zero.  Continue Reading FERC Accepts PJM’s Load-Ratio Share and Solution-Based DFAX Proposal

On March 1, 2018, President Donald Trump said that his administration would begin imposing a 25% tariff on imported steel and a 10% tariff on imported aluminum as early as the next week.  The President’s unexpected announcement came after the Department of Commerce concluded on February 16, 2018 that the importation of steel and aluminum threatens national security.  The Commerce Department reached its conclusion after finalizing investigations under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, which were initiated in April 2017 and designed to determine whether such imports “threaten to impair the national security.” Continue Reading President Trump Announces Upcoming Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum

On February 28, 2018, FERC accepted ISO New England Inc.’s (“ISO-NE”) and the New England Power Pool Participants Committee’s (“NEPOOL”) tariff revisions to replace the capacity market’s existing bilateral contracting mechanism with a new mechanism, the Annual Reconfiguration Transaction (“ART”).  According to ISO-NE, the ART provides an alternative method to achieve the equivalent of a Capacity Supply Obligation (“CSO”) Bilateral while also accounting for a resource’s impact on reliability.  Continue Reading ISO-NE Creates New Annual Reconfiguration Transaction in its Forward Capacity Market

On February 21, 2018, FERC accepted PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) Order No. 825 compliance filing, subject to condition.  In Order No. 825, FERC directed each regional transmission organization (“RTO”) and independent system operator (“ISO”) to align settlement and dispatch intervals, and modify certain rules regarding when shortage pricing is triggered. Continue Reading FERC Conditionally Accepts PJM’s Order No. 825 Compliance Filing on Shortage Pricing and Settlement and Dispatch Alignment

In response to concerns regarding the changing nature of the nation’s energy supply portfolio and the emergence of promising energy storage technologies, the Commission in recent years issued several notices of inquiry, notices of proposed rulemaking, and policy statements regarding various energy storage and ancillary service supply issues.  Additionally, the Commission considered but ultimately declined to pursue the Department of Energy-initiated rulemaking on grid resiliency and reliability.  On February 15, 2018, however, the Commission took concrete action by issuing a pair of Final Rules, addressing (i) storage participation in regional markets; and (ii) the provision of primary frequency response, a critical grid support service. Continue Reading FERC Issues Final Rules on Electric Storage Participation in RTOs/ISOs and Primary Frequency Response for New Generators

On February 2, 2018, FERC conditionally granted FirstEnergy Service Company (“FirstEnergy”) a limited waiver of certain market-based rate affiliate restrictions to allow for the establishment of a centralized regional transmission organization (“RTO”) interface group.  The affiliate restrictions protect captive customers from potential harm if a franchised public utility interacts with its affiliates in ways that would transfer benefits to the affiliate to the detriment of the captive customer.  FERC granted the waiver to FirstEnergy, with the condition that it must keep sufficient records to permit the Commission to audit whether FirstEnergy’s representations that it would not harm captive customers are true. Continue Reading FERC Conditionally Allows FirstEnergy Holding Company System to Establish a Centralized RTO Interface Group

On February 2, 2018, FERC directed Commission Staff to convene a technical conference to explore issues concerning interconnection issues that affect neighboring utilities or regions.  In particular, the technical conference is to address issues raised in a complaint by EDF Renewable Energy, Inc. (“EDF”) against the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”), Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”), and PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM) related to the Affected Systems coordination procedures contained in the MISO, SPP, and PJM tariffs, the MISO-PJM Joint Operating Agreement (“JOA”), and the MISO-SPP JOA, as well as the Affected Systems coordination issues raised in FERC’s Interconnection Reform Rulemaking proceeding in Docket No. RM17-8-000 (see December 20, 2016 edition of the WER). Continue Reading FERC Establishes Technical Conference on Inter-RTO Affected Systems Interconnection Issues

On January 26, 2018, a divided panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) vacated a series of FERC orders that removed from transmission owners in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) the ability to elect to fund the construction of network upgrades on their transmission systems to accommodate the interconnection of new generation.  The D.C. Circuit vacated FERC’s orders and remanded the case back to FERC for further proceedings. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Vacates FERC Orders on Transmission Owner Funding for Network Upgrades in MISO