On May 4, 2018, FERC approved the joint petition filed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”), Midwest Reliability Organization (“MRO”), and SERC Reliability Corporation (“SERC”) (collectively “Petitioners”) requesting FERC approvals for the dissolution of the Southwest Power Pool Regional Entity (“SPP RE”), and the transfer of the registered entities within the SPP RE footprint to MRO and SERC (“Joint Petition”). Continue Reading FERC Approves of SPP Regional Entity Dissolution and Registered Entity Transfer to SERC, MRO

On May 1, 2018, FERC staff held a technical conference on local transmission planning within the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) footprint.  The conference comes at a time when two California utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (“PG&E”) and Southern California Edison Company (“SCE”), have transmission planning issues before the Commission, and also following FERC’s recent order addressing compliance with Order No. 890 in the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) region (see February 20, 2018 edition of the WER). Continue Reading FERC Holds Technical Conference on Local Transmission Planning Issues in CAISO Amid Concerns of Order No. 890 Compliance

On May 2, 2018, staff from FERC, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”), and the NERC Regional Entities (the “Joint Study Team”), issued a joint report titled “FERC-NERC-Regional Entity Joint Review of Restoration and Recovery Plans” (“Joint Report”), which evaluated blackstart resources and planning by a representative sample of nine volunteer utilities registered with NERC (the “Participants”).  According to the Joint Report, the Participants verified that they currently have sufficient blackstart resources in their system restoration plans, as well as comprehensive strategies for mitigating against loss of any additional blackstart resources going forward.  The Joint Report also made a number of recommendations for users, owners, or operators of the bulk-power system (“Registered Entities”) and others responsible for system restoration.

Continue Reading FERC, NERC, and Regional Entity Staff Issue Joint Report on Registered Entity Restoration and Recovery Plans

In two orders concurrently issued on April 17, 2018, FERC reaffirmed its jurisdiction over the participation of energy efficiency resources (“EERs”) in wholesale electricity markets and accepted an EER-related tariff filing from PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”).  In one order, FERC denied rehearing and granted clarification of a December 1, 2017 order (“Declaratory Order”) asserting jurisdiction over EERs, rejecting claims that FERC had overstepped its “directly affects” jurisdiction under the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), and in the second order, FERC applied that understanding to find PJM’s proposal to integrate EERs into PJM’s wholesale markets just and reasonable. Continue Reading FERC Reaffirms Jurisdiction over Wholesale EERs and Accepts PJM EER-Related Tariff Filing

On April 3, 2018, FERC pre-approved numerous utilities’ request to enter into certain future transmission system related transactions in the event of a catastrophic grid reliability event (“Triggering Event”).  As a result, participant-utilities in the Regional Equipment Sharing for Transmission Outage Restoration Agreement (“RESTORE Agreement”) are eligible to purchase certain replacement transmission system equipment (the “Proposed Transactions”) from other participant-utilities if there is a Triggering Event that impacts transmission service capabilities.  In addition, FERC also granted the utility-applicants’ (“Applicants’”) request for waiver of certain affiliate purchase restrictions in the event that qualifying transactions between affiliates becomes necessary. Continue Reading FERC Approves Regional Equipment Sharing Program

On March 29, 2018, FERC issued an order accepting proposed modifications to the methodology used to evaluate the availability of resource adequacy (“RA”) resources and resulting charges and payments under the Resource Adequacy Availability Incentive Mechanism (“RAAIM”) administered by the California Independent Operator Corporation (“CAISO”).  In the order, FERC agreed that CAISO’s proposal addressed identified problems such as overweighting certain types of resource adequacy capacity and discouraging parties from providing other types of capacity. Continue Reading FERC Accepts Modifications to CAISO’s RAAIM Charges and Payment Methodology

 On March 29, 2018, FERC issued an order granting a limited tariff waiver request by the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) relating to participation requirements for certain demand response resources in the California Public Utilities Commission’s (“CPUC”) Demand Response Auction Mechanism (“DRAM”) with delivery obligations between April-October in 2018 and 2019.  The waiver, which was necessitated by recent changes in CAISO’s resource adequacy program, will allow CPUC-identified DRAM resources to meet their contractual and regulatory obligations.  In granting the waiver, however, FERC stated that DRAM contracts executed after the date of the order and that do not conform with current CAISO requirements should not be eligible for the waiver. Continue Reading FERC Grants CAISO Waiver Request for DRAM Resources Impacted by Availability Hours Change

On March 9, 2018, a divided FERC approved the Competitive Auctions with Sponsored Policy Resources (“CASPR”) proposal submitted by the ISO New England Inc. (“ISO-NE”). Developed through an extensive stakeholder process that began in 2016, CASPR was promoted by ISO-NE as a mechanism to integrate out-of-market state resource policies that might otherwise suppress capacity market prices in ISO-NE’s capacity market. A divided FERC approved the proposal as a just and reasonable accommodation of state policies, with Commissioner Powelson dissenting, arguing that the proposal dilutes market signals and “threatens the viability” of ISO-NE’s capacity market. Commissioners LaFleur and Glick concurred with the outcome, but criticized the order’s guidance on adapting markets to state energy policies, and reliance on minimum offer pricing rules (“MOPRs”) as the “standard solution” to achieve that end. Continue Reading A Divided FERC Approves ISO-NE’s Capacity Market Changes to Accommodate State Subsidized Resources

On February 23, 2018, FERC approved PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) changes to its tariff and Reliability Assurance Agreement (“RAA”) to revise Reliability Pricing Model (“RPM”) capacity market rules in order to accommodate greater participation from seasonal resources.  Specifically, FERC approved changes related to: (1) resource aggregation for submitting combined capacity market sell offers; (2) granting winter-period interconnection rights; and (3) demand response resource measurement and verification for seasonal resources.  However, FERC separately responded to complaints that the RPM does not adequately accommodate seasonal resources by directing FERC staff to establish a technical conference to explore whether further changes are needed to permit seasonal resource participation. Continue Reading FERC Orders Technical Conference on Seasonal Resources Participating in PJM’s RPM Capacity Market

In dual orders issued on February 28, 2018, FERC affirmed that the current resource adequacy requirements of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) remain just and reasonable, and simultaneously rejected an earlier MISO filing that would have imposed additional resource adequacy program changes.  The rejection of MISO’s earlier filing came after the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) granted FERC a voluntary remand to reconsider its previous conditional acceptance in light of NRG Power Marketing, LLC. v. FERC (“NRG”). Continue Reading FERC Reaffirms Current MISO Resource Adequacy Program, Cites Recent D.C. Circuit Decision in Separate Rejection of Other Resource Adequacy Proposals on Remand