On October 29, 2018, FERC approved the California Independent System Operator Corp.’s (“CAISO”) tariff revisions related to its Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”) bid adders, which reflect EIM participating resources’ costs to comply with the California Air Resources Board’s (“CARB”) greenhouse gas (“GHG”) regulations. Specifically, FERC accepted CAISO’s proposal to limit the hourly megawatt quantity included in an EIM bid adder to the range between the EIM resource’s base schedule and its effective upper economic bid for that hour. Continue Reading FERC Approves Limit to Hourly MW Quantity Included in CAISO EIM GHG Bid Adders
On October 22, 2018, FERC Commissioner Kevin McIntyre announced in a letter to President Donald Trump that he would step down from his role as Chairman and would continue his work as Commissioner. In addition, President Trump announced on October 24, 2018 that current FERC Commissioner and former Chairman Neil Chatterjee would replace Commissioner McIntyre as FERC Chairman. Continue Reading McIntyre Steps Down as FERC Chairman; President Trump Designates Chatterjee as His Replacement
On October 12, 2018, FERC rejected without prejudice a proposal submitted by Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) and a group of MISO Transmission Owners (“MISO TOs”) (together, “Filing Parties”) to add a new Schedule 50 to MISO’s Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”) that would enable MISO TOs to recover reasonable expenses, including overhead costs, associated with operation, maintenance, and repair of a transmission owner’s interconnection facilities (“TOIF”). FERC rejected the proposal without prejudice because it relied on estimated construction costs of the TOIF without the requirement to support the reasonableness of such estimated costs.
On October 18, 2018, FERC accepted Southwest Power Pool’s (“SPP”) tariff revisions to implement a major maintenance cost component for mitigated start-up offers and mitigated no-load offers. FERC found SPP’s proposal to be a just and reasonable means of addressing concerns over the recovery of costs resulting from the gradual deterioration of resources’ operating equipment in the SPP Integrated Marketplace.
On October 5, 2018, FERC accepted revisions to the New York Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“NYISO”) methodology used to determine Locational Installed Capacity Requirements (“LCRs”) in NYISO’s Installed Capacity (“ICAP”) market. In doing so, FERC found that the proposed Alternative LCR Methodology was just and reasonable because, among other things, the Alternative LCR Methodology results in LCRs, and thus capacity costs, that are reasonably aligned with the associated reliability benefits.
On September 28, 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law Public Law No: 115-247, amending Federal Power Act (“FPA”) section 203 to add a $10 million threshold for public utility mergers and acquisitions requiring FERC approval. The new law will also require FERC to (i) issue a rule to require any public utility to notify FERC, after 30 days of the close of the transaction, if the value of the merger is more than $1 million but less than $10 million and (ii) submit a report to Congress assessing the impacts of the new law. The amendments to FPA section 203 will become effective on March 27, 2019. Continue Reading New Law Amends FPA Section 203 to Add Monetary Threshold to Public Utility Mergers and Acquisitions
On October 3, 3018, President Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate Bernard L. McNamee to fill the vacant seat on FERC, for the term expiring June 30, 2020, resulting from Commissioner Robert Powelson’s resignation. If nominated, confirmed, and sworn in, Mr. McNamee would restore the Republican majority among FERC Commissioners.
On September 24, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (“District Court”) concluded that FERC’s assessment of a civil penalty against Powhatan Energy Fund, LLC and certain of its traders and affiliates (“Powhatan”) for market manipulation allegations was not barred by the statute of limitations because FERC’s claim accrued when Powhatan failed to pay the civil penalty rather than when the alleged violations actually occurred. However, the District Court noted that it was particularly difficult to apply the statute of limitations to enforcement actions brought under the Federal Power Act’s (“FPA”) de novo review procedures and thus stayed the issue to allow Powhatan to file an interlocutory appeal. Continue Reading District Court Rules FERC Action Against Powhatan Not Barred by Statute of Limitations
On September 27, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (“Second Circuit”) dismissed challenges to the New York zero emission credit (“ZEC”) program, ruling that: (1) the ZEC program is not field preempted by the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) because the ZEC program is not expressly tied to wholesale market participation or prices; (2) the ZEC program is not conflict preempted because it does not intrude on federal goals; and (3) the ZEC challengers did not have standing to raise a dormant Commerce Clause claim because they did not own out-of-state nuclear generators that they alleged were discriminated against by the ZEC program. Continue Reading Second Circuit Upholds NY ZEC Program
On September 20, 2018, FERC denied the Utah Board of Water Resources (“Utah Board”) and the Washington County Water Conservancy District’s petition for a declaratory order, asking FERC to find that its licensing jurisdiction under the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) extends to all of the Lake Powell Pipeline Project facilities identified in the Board’s license application for the project, including 89 miles of water delivery pipeline. Continue Reading FERC Denies Petition for Declaratory Order on Jurisdiction for Lake Powell Pipeline