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.

Continue Reading FERC Accepts NYISO’s Capacity Market Changes

On October 2, 2018, PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) submitted a filing at FERC (“October 2 Filing”) in response to a June 29, 2018 FERC order invalidating PJM’s capacity market rules (“June 29 Order”).  FERC found PJM’s existing capacity market rules unjust and unreasonable because they do not consider the impacts state subsidies have on PJM’s capacity market.  In the October 2 Filing, PJM proposes two alternative methods in response to the June 2018 Order: an expanded Minimum Offer Price Rule (“MOPR”) and Resource Carve-Out construct. Continue Reading PJM Proposes New Fix to Capacity Market to Address State-Subsidized Resources

On September 20, 2018, FERC partially accepted tariff amendments proposed by the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) aimed at improving the efficiency of its congestion revenue rights (“CRR”) market rules.  Specifically, CAISO proposed to decrease the percentage of transmission system capacity available in the annual CRR allocation and auction processes from 75 percent to 65 percent (“Capacity Release Reduction Proposal”).  FERC accepted the Capacity Release Reduction Proposal, finding it just and reasonable.  CAISO also proposed to eliminate full funding of CRRs and instead scale CRR payouts, on a constraint-by-constraint basis, up to the extent that CAISO collects sufficient revenue through the day-ahead market congestion charges and charges to counterflow CRRs (“Scaling Proposal”).  FERC, however, rejected the Scaling Proposal as not just and reasonable. Continue Reading FERC Partially Accepts CAISO Tariff Amendments Aimed at Improving Efficiency of Congestion Revenue Rights Market Rules

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 13, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (“Seventh Circuit”) dismissed challenges to the Illinois “zero emission credit” (“ZEC”) program, a state law which compensates nuclear plants and other generators that do not produce carbon emissions (“ZEC Program”).  In doing so, the Seventh Circuit ruled, among other things, that: (1) the ZEC Program is not preempted by the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) because eligibility to receive ZECs does not depend on the generator’s participation in a wholesale auction, and (2) the ZEC Program does not violate the dormant Commerce Clause because it does not discriminate against interstate commerce. Continue Reading Seventh Circuit Rejects Challenges to Illinois ZECs Program

On September 6, 2018, FERC mostly denied rehearing of its February 20, 2018 order (“Proposal Order”) that accepted PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) proposal to reduce the number of bidding points at which virtual transactions may be submitted by market participants (“Virtual Transactions Proposal”), finding PJM’s Virtual Transactions Proposal just and reasonable.  However, FERC did grant rehearing with respect to PJM’s request to modify the effective date of the revisions accepted in the Proposal Order to February 22, 2018. Continue Reading FERC Mostly Denies Rehearing of Order Accepting PJM Proposal to Reduce Bidding Points for Virtual Transactions

On June 29, 2018, FERC rejected proposals by Calpine Corporation (“Calpine”) and PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) to address what they view as shortcomings in PJM’s capacity markets resulting from what they characterize as state subsidy programs that suppress capacity prices (the “June 29 Order”).  Continue Reading FERC Rejects PJM’s Proposed Tariff Revisions and Initiates Section 206 Proceeding

On June 29, 2018, FERC approved the California Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“CAISO”) revisions to its congestion revenue rights (“CRR”) auction intended to address the shortfall between CRR auction revenues and amounts owed by CAISO to holders of auctioned CRRs.  Specifically, CAISO proposed to (1) require CAISO transmission owners to submit all known transmission maintenance outages for the next year by July 1, rather than October 15; and (2) limit the allowable source and sink pairs eligible for the CRR auction to pairs associated with supply delivery and to exclude non-delivery CRR pairs. Continue Reading FERC Approves Changes to CAISO’s Congestion Revenue Rights Auction

On June 15, 2018, in separate opinions, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) affirmed two FERC rulings that denied utilities’ requests to be made whole for purchasing natural gas at inflated prices to comply with their PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) capacity resource obligations during the 2014 Polar Vortex.  Specifically, the D.C. Circuit upheld FERC’s holdings that (1) permitting the utility in one case to recover costs retroactively would violate the filed rate doctrine and the rule prohibiting retroactive ratemaking and (2) the utility in the second case was not entitled to indemnification for its losses resulting from PJM requesting the utility to comply with its capacity resource obligations. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Affirms Denial of Recovery of Gas Purchase Costs During 2014 Polar Vortex

On June 21, 2018, FERC approved tariff provisions proposed by the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”).  Specifically, the Commission’s order approved, subject to compliance filing, CAISO’s proposals to revise the definition of which resources qualify as use-limited and to allow those resources to include opportunity cost adders in their bids, while rejecting CAISO’s proposed revisions relating to the Master File, an electronic database of generator-provided data on resources participating in CAISO markets, as well as its proposal to remove ramp rates as components of daily bids. Continue Reading FERC Approves CAISO’s Creation of Opportunity Cost Adder for Use-Limited Resources