On April 10, 2018, FERC approved the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) proposed revisions to Attachment X of its Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”).  Specifically, MISO proposed to require interconnection customers seeking to modify their elected level of Network Resource Interconnection Service (“NRIS”), to do so earlier on in the generator interconnection process. Continue Reading FERC Approves MISO Interconnection Revisions Regarding Modifications to NRIS Designations

On March 23, 2018, FERC accepted ISO New England Inc.’s (“ISO-NE”) filing to terminate a portion of the Capacity Supply Obligation (“CSO”) for a wind-powered electric generation facility (the “Disputed Portion”) owned by Blue Sky West, LLC (“Blue Sky West”).  Despite protests from Blue Sky West, FERC approved the requested termination, effective March 1, 2018. Continue Reading FERC Accepts ISO-NE Termination of Portion of Capacity Supply Obligation for Wind Generator; Clarifies Timing of ISO-NE Termination Provisions

On March 15, 2018, FERC denied the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s (“West Virginia DEP”) and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources’ (collectively, “West Virginia”) request for rehearing of FERC’s issuance of original licenses for two hydroelectric projects to be constructed, owned, and operated by FFP Missouri 15, LLC and FFP Missouri 16, LLC (collectively, “FFP”).  Specifically, FERC found that West Virginia waived its certification authority under section 401 of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) by failing to act on the application within one year of receipt. Continue Reading FERC Finds West Virginia Waived CWA Section 401 Permit Authority for Hydropower Projects

On March 13 and March 15, 2018, FERC took actions to address tax law changes resulting from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 for electricity, natural gas, and oil companies.  In addition, on March 15, 2018, in response to a federal court remand, FERC stated that master limited partnership (“MLP”) interstate natural gas and oil pipelines will no longer be allowed to receive an income tax allowance in cost of service rates. Continue Reading FERC Addresses Impact of Tax Cuts on Rates for Energy Companies and Eliminates Income Tax Allowance for Master Limited Partnerships

On March 6, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) denied Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC’s (“Duke Energy”) petition for review of FERC’s grant of a forty-year license for the Catawba-Wateree Project (“Project”).  FERC had found that, despite Duke Energy’s requested fifty-year term for the license renewal, the measures required by FERC in issuing the license were only “moderate,” and thus warranted the forty-year term.  Duke Energy argued that FERC acted arbitrarily and capriciously by not granting the fifty-year license.  The D.C. Circuit deferred to FERC’s analysis in granting a forty-year license. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Defers to FERC’s Qualitative Approach for Establishing Term for Hydroelectric Project Licenses

On February 27, 2018, FERC staff completed an inquiry in which they did not uncover any evidence of anticompetitive withholding of natural gas pipeline capacity on Algonquin Gas Transmission, LLC pipeline (“Algonquin”) by New England shippers.  The inquiry initially arose from allegations made by the Environmental Defense Fund (“EDF”) that Eversource Energy (“Eversource”) and Avangrid, Inc. (“Avangrid”) were artificially constraining capacity on the Algonquin.  After finding that Eversource and Avangrid did not engage in anticompetitive behavior, FERC staff will not take any further action on the matter. Continue Reading FERC Staff Inquiry Concludes No Withholding of Natural Gas Pipeline Capacity in New England

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