On January 18, 2018, FERC took steps to develop supply chain risk management Reliability Standards and to approve several new Emergency Preparedness and Operations (“EOP”) Reliability Standards.  First, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) proposing to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to develop supply chain risk management requirements under the Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standards.  Second, in a separate order, FERC approved several new EOP Reliability Standards aimed at addressing emergency event reporting, roles and responsibilities during system restoration via blackstart resources, system restoration plans and coordination, and the loss of control center functionality.  Continue Reading FERC Proposes to Approve Supply Chain Risk Management Reliability Standards and Approves New EOP Reliability Standards

On January 9, 2018, several state Attorneys General, state agencies, and state consumer advocates (“State Advocates”) sent a joint letter to the FERC Commissioners requesting that FERC open an investigation into the continued justness and reasonableness of FERC-jurisdictional electric and natural gas utilities’ (“Public Utilities”) rates considering the recent reduction in the federal corporate income tax rate.  The State Advocates further urged FERC to promptly adjust the revenue requirements of such Public Utilities to prevent utility customers across the nation from overpaying for service.  Continue Reading Multiple States Ask FERC to Adjust Utility and Pipeline Rates due to Tax Reform Bill

On December 21, 2017, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) proposing to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to modify the cybersecurity incident reporting requirements under the Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standards.  According to FERC, the proposal is intended to “improve awareness of existing and future cyber security threats and potential vulnerabilities.”
Continue Reading FERC Proposes to Improve Cybersecurity Incident Report Requirements in NOPR

On December 21, 2017, FERC Chairman Kevin McIntyre unexpectedly announced at his first Commission meeting that FERC will conduct a review of its 1999 Policy Statement on Certification of New Interstate Natural Gas Pipeline Facilities (“1999 Policy Statement”).  In doing so, Chairman McIntyre recognized that “[m]uch has changed in the energy world since 1999, and it is incumbent upon [the Commission] to take another look at the way in which we assess the value and viability of our pipeline applications.”  According to multiple reports, Chairman McIntyre clarified that he does not believe that the review will affect current pending pipeline applications.  Furthermore, Chairman McIntyre indicated that the review of the 1999 Policy Statement, which governs how FERC evaluates proposals for certificating new gas pipeline construction, will take place sometime in 2018.  Continue Reading FERC Unexpectedly Announces Review of its Certification Policy for Natural Gas Pipelines

On December 11, 2017, Eversource Energy (“Eversource”) sent a cease and desist letter to Fred Krupp, President of the Environmental Defense Fund (“EDF”) and N. Jonathan Peress, EDF’s Senior Director of Energy Market Policy.  Specifically, Eversource directed both EDF executives to immediately stop the publication of all statements insinuating that Eversource has withheld gas pipeline capacity from the wholesale electricity market in order to earn profits from higher prices. Continue Reading Eversource Issues Cease and Desist in Response to Claims of Withholding Pipeline Capacity

On November 16, 2017, twelve New England electricity consumers (“Plaintiffs”) filed a class action lawsuit in in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts against two large New England energy companies, Eversource Energy (“Eversource”) and Avangrid, Inc. (“Avangrid”), arguing that they raised power prices by artificially constraining capacity on the Algonquin Gas Transmission Pipeline (“Algonquin”).  Specifically, the Plaintiffs argue that for the past three years, Eversource and Avangrid have increased power prices by 20% by reserving more capacity than was needed on Algonquin with the intent to cancel the reservation when it was too late for the pipeline capacity to be resold to other market participants.  Plaintiffs allege that this behavior was a misuse of Eversource’s and Avangrid’s market power, in violation of state and federal unjust enrichment, consumer protection and antitrust laws. Continue Reading Lawsuit Accuses New England Natural Gas Companies of Withholding Pipeline Capacity

On December 7, 2017, Kevin McIntyre was sworn in as FERC Chairman.  The addition of Chairman McIntyre now completes a full, five-member Commission.  On the same day, Chairman McIntyre requested a 30-day extension of the deadline for FERC to act on Department of Energy (“DOE”) Secretary Rick Perry’s proposed rulemaking concerning grid resiliency pricing. Continue Reading McIntyre Sworn in as FERC Chairman, Requests Extension to Address DOE NOPR

On December 1, 2017, FERC concluded that it has exclusive jurisdiction over the participation of energy efficiency resources (“EERs”) in wholesale electricity markets.  FERC also found that: (1) state or local regulators may not bar or restrict EER participation in wholesale electricity markets, unless given express authority to do so by FERC; and (2) FERC’s previous Order No. 719 on demand response may not be interpreted to permit a state or local regulator to exercise an opt-out and bar or restrict the participation of EERs. Continue Reading FERC Claims Exclusive Jurisdiction Over Energy Efficiency Resources in Wholesale Electricity Markets

On November 28, 2017, FERC accepted in part and rejected in part the California Independent System Operator Corporation’s (“CAISO”) two sets of tariff revisions concerning natural gas system limitations on CAISO’s system and market operations.  Specifically, FERC accepted CAISO’s proposed extension, for one additional year, of temporary Aliso Canyon tariff revisions that FERC previously accepted on an interim basis.  However, FERC rejected CAISO’s proposal to make other interim measures permanent and to extend their application to the entire CAISO-operated western grid, including the CAISO-operated Western Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”). Continue Reading FERC Grants Partial Extension of Aliso Canyon Related Tariff Revisions