On March 6, 2019, FERC denied GridLiance GP, LLC’s (“GridLiance”) proposal (“Proposed Transaction”) to acquire from People’s Electric Cooperative certain transmission lines and related facilities (“Assets”).  In its order, FERC concluded that GridLiance failed to demonstrate that the benefits of its ownership of the facilities would offset the rate increases that GridLiance acknowledged would result from the Proposed Transaction.  However, because FERC denied the proposal without prejudice, GridLiance can make a new filing that, according to FERC “proposes adequate ratepayer protection and demonstrates specific additional benefits to offset a rate increase.”

Continue Reading FERC Issues Rare Denial of Proposed Transmission Line Acquisition

On February 28, 2019, following a July 2018 voluntary remand order from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”), FERC reversed tariff waivers it previously granted to the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) regarding customer crediting payments for certain network upgrades.  FERC had granted a waiver of the one-year time bar for billing adjustments in SPP’s tariff so that SPP could retroactively reimburse transmission customers for qualifying network upgrade payments.  In its order on voluntary remand (“Remand Order”) however, FERC concluded that granting such a waiver would violate the filed rate doctrine.  As such, FERC directed the SPP to provide refunds and interest to affected transmission customers. Continue Reading FERC Reverses Decision Permitting Retroactive Adjustments for SPP Network Upgrades

On February 21, 2019, FERC issued an order (“Order No. 845-A”) granting in part and denying in part various requests for rehearing and clarification of its determinations in Order No. 845.  In Order No. 845, FERC revised its interconnection rules for large generators, i.e., generators with capacities greater than 20 MW.  Although the requests for rehearing asked FERC to reconsider all but one of the Order No. 845 reforms, Order No. 845-A effectively leaves the major reforms intact, and focuses in large part on explaining FERC’s intentions as to how the new rules should work.  Compliance filings in response to both Order Nos. 845 and 845-A are due May 22, 2019. Continue Reading FERC Revises and Clarifies Order No. 845 Large Generator Interconnection Reforms

On February 8, 2019, FERC approved nine revisions to the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) Tariff addressing its Public Policy Transmission Planning Process.  While the changes mainly provide additional process and transparency to NYISO’s existing procedures, NYISO also removed the requirement that the New York Public Service Commission (“New York Commission”) issue an order confirming the transmission need before NYISO can move forward with its planning process. Continue Reading FERC Approves Changes to NYISO Transmission Planning Process

On February 4, 2019, FERC issued a notice that its staff and the Department of Energy (“DOE”) will co-host a technical conference on Security Investments for Energy Infrastructure.  The technical conference will broadly address two main topics.  Continue Reading FERC, DOE Announce Technical Conference on Security Investments for Energy Infrastructure

On January 29, 2019, FERC rejected the New England Power Pool Participants Committee’s (“NEPOOL”) proposed revisions to its Second Restated NEPOOL Agreement (“NEPOOL Agreement”) that would have disqualified members of the press from being eligible to become NEPOOL members.  NEPOOL argued that the proposed revisions (“NEPOOL Press Amendments”) were necessary because allowing members of the press as NEPOOL members would undermine the effectiveness of the NEPOOL stakeholder process.  FERC rejected the revisions in part because, according to FERC, NEPOOL did not show that the revisions were just and reasonable and not unduly discriminatory or preferential. Continue Reading FERC Rejects NEPOOL Proposal Prohibiting Press Membership

On January 23 and 24, 2019, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced $78 million in federal funding to improve existing coal-fired power plants and for grid modernization.  Both funding programs come from DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy. Continue Reading DOE Announces New Funding for Improvements to Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants and Grid Modernization

On January 17, 2019, FERC denied North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation’s (“NCEMC”) Formal Challenge and Complaint against Duke Energy Progress, LLC’s (“DEP”) transmission formula rate and Joint Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Joint OATT”) for failing to reflect in its wholesale transmission rates reductions related to federal, and North Carolina state, corporate income tax changes.  For various reasons discussed below, FERC denied NCEMC’s Complaint because it found that DEP had correctly applied its historical test year formula rate methodology. Continue Reading FERC Rejects Complaint Alleging Duke Failed to Account for Tax Changes in Formula Rate

On January 15, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) in San Diego Gas & Electric Co. v. FERC, No. 16-1433, denied San Diego Gas & Electric’s (“SDG&E”) petition for review of FERC orders declining retroactive application of its cancelled or abandoned electric transmission facilities incentive (“Abandonment Incentive”).  The D.C. Circuit’s decision denies SDG&E the eligibility to recover, in the case of abandonment, approximately $15 million in development costs associated with its South Orange County Reliability Enhancement Project (“SOCRE Project”).  The decision also prompted a dissent from Senior Circuit Judge A. Raymond Randolph, who argued that the underlying FERC orders were contrary to the plain language of the regulation at issue, as well as the Commission’s own precedent. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Denies SDG&E Petition for Review of FERC Orders Denying Retroactive Abandonment Incentive

On January 8, 2019, FERC approved revisions to the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) Tariff and Operating Agreement regarding the use of transmission constraint penalty factors in its market operations.  PJM’s filing responds to new market transparency requirements set out in Order No. 844, the result of FERC’s rulemaking addressing uplift cost allocation and transparency in Regional Transmission Organizations (“RTOs”) and Independent System Operators (“ISOs”).  In accepting PJM’s proposed revisions, FERC found the revisions would provide transparency regarding PJM’s transmission constraint penalty factor procedures and also produce more transparent and appropriate pricing and investment signals that correspond to an underlying transmission constraint. Continue Reading FERC Approves PJM Tariff Revisions Regarding Transmission Constraint Penalty Factors