On May 17, 2018, FERC issued two orders denying requests for rehearing of two orders rejecting certain Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) Open Access Transmission Tariff (“OATT”) proposals that, as FERC found, provided Auction Revenue Rights (“ARRs”) and Long-term Congestion Rights (“LTCRs”) on an unjust and unreasonable basis (“May 2018 Orders”).  FERC’s previous orders, both issued on October 19, 2017 (“October 2017 Orders”), found that SPP was impermissibly providing ARRs and LTCRs for network service subject to “redispatch” (or, curtailment), on the same basis as network service not subject to redispatch (see October 25, 2017 edition of the WER).  In these latest orders, FERC rejected claims that, among other things, the October 2017 Orders had violated the contract rights of eligible network customers and that they constituted unlawful retroactive agency action. Continue Reading FERC Rejects Requests for Rehearing of SPP Congestion Revenue Rights Orders

On May 4, 2018, FERC issued an order approving a proposal by the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) to eliminate transmission revenue credits for certain non-capacity network upgrades and to exempt non-firm and short-term firm point-to-point transmission service requests from incurring payment obligations for otherwise creditable system upgrades.  Recognizing the flexibility afforded to Regional Transmission Organizations (“RTOs”) and Independent System Operators (“ISOs”) in the assignment of network upgrade costs, FERC rejected protests that SPP was not sufficiently recognizing the benefits of non-capacity upgrades. Continue Reading FERC Approves SPP’s Elimination of Transmission Revenue Credits for Non-Capacity Upgrades and Limiting Revenue Collection to Long-Term Firm Service Customers

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 April 27, 2018 (“April 27 Order”), FERC denied a rehearing request of Basin Electric Power Cooperative (“Basin Electric”), Heartland Consumers Power District (“Heartland”), and Missouri River Energy Services (“Missouri River”; collectively, “Rehearing Parties”).  The Rehearing Parties contended that their grandfathered agreement regarding the Missouri Basin Power Project was eligible for carve-out treatment under the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) Open Access Transmission Tariff (“SPP Tariff”).  In this proceeding, “carve-out treatment” refers to an exemption from congestion charges and marginal losses.  FERC ultimately rejected the rehearing request because it found, among other reasons, that Rehearing Parties are not similarly situated to another party, who had already been given carve-out treatment. Continue Reading FERC Rejects Rehearing Request Regarding SPP Congestion Charge Exemptions

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 15, 2018, FERC issued three interrelated orders regarding the creation of a new Transco within the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”), the integration of a new Transmission Owner within SPP, and the allocation of existing transmission costs for new transmission owners within the region.  The package of orders stems from South Central MCN LLC’s (“South Central”) acquisition of transmission facilities from a public power entity, the City of Nixa, Missouri. Continue Reading FERC Issues Orders Regarding SPP’s Allocation of Existing Facility Transmission Costs for New Transmission Owners

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 5, 2018, FERC accepted PJM Interconnection, L.LC.’s (“PJM”) revisions to the appendices to Schedule 12 of its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”).  Under Schedule 12, PJM annually files updates to the cost responsibility assignments for transmission enhancement and expansion projects selected in PJM’s Regional Transmission Plan (“RTEP”).  Through the Tariff revisions, PJM sought to update load-ratio share and solution-based distribution factor (“DFAX”) cost allocations in the appendices to Schedule 12 for Regional Facilities, Necessary Lower Voltage Facilities, and Lower Voltage Facilities.  Additionally, pursuant to prior FERC orders issued in late-2017, PJM’s Tariff revisions sought to reduce the cost responsibility assignments under the appendices of Schedule 12 of PJM’s Tariff to certain merchant facilities—including, Hudson Transmission Partners and Linden VFT, LLC (together, the “Merchant Facilities”)—to zero.  Continue Reading FERC Accepts PJM’s Load-Ratio Share and Solution-Based DFAX Proposal

In a decision issued on March 6, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit” or the court) upheld a series of FERC orders declining to direct Entergy Services Inc. (“Entergy”) to pay refunds for previously misallocated capacity costs.  The D.C. Circuit found that FERC adequately explained its reasoning and clarified that—contrary to previous assertions—the Commission has no general policy of ordering refunds in cases involving flawed rate design, and that it had adequately explained that such a refund order would be inequitable in this instance. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Affirms FERC Refund Denial in Louisiana PSC Cost Allocation Challenge