On September 12, 2018, FERC announced the initiation of a joint inquiry with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) into a cold weather event that occurred in the Midwest and part of the South Central U.S. mid-January of this year.  Specifically, on January 17, 2018, regional operators in the midwest and south central United States issued emergency appeals for electricity conservation after an atypical forecast in electricity demand due to unusually cold temperatures.  As a result, there were reports of multiple forced generation outages, voltage deviations, and near-overloads during peak operations. Continue Reading FERC, NERC Announce Inquiry into January 2018 Cold Weather Event

On September 6, 2018, FERC denied the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) rehearing request of FERC’s prior order rejecting proposed revisions to PJM’s Amended and Restated Operating Agreement (“Operating Agreement”) and Open Access Transmission Tariff (“OATT”) that would allocate uplift charges to Up-to-Congest transactions (“UTCs”) similarly to other virtual transactions.  However, FERC granted rehearing in part to accept PJM’s proposal to exclude internal bilateral transactions from the calculation of supply and demand deviations for the purpose of uplift allocation. Continue Reading FERC Grants Partial Rehearing of PJM Uplift Allocation Order

On August 31, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“Commission”) issued an order (“August 31 Order”) in which it denied a complaint  (“Complaint”) by the California Public Utilities Commission, Northern California Power Agency, City and County of San Francisco, the State Water Contractors, and the Transmission Agency of Northern California (collectively, “Complainants”) against Pacific Gas and Electric Company (“PG&E”).  Complainants alleged that PG&E was in violation of its obligation under Order No. 890 to conduct an open, coordinated, and transparent transmission planning process because, according to Complainants, more than 80 percent of PG&E’s transmission planning is done on an internal basis without opportunity for stakeholder input or review.  In Order No. 890, the Commission found, among other things, that in order for a Regional Transmission Organization or Independent System Operator’s transmission planning processes to be open and transparent, transmission customers and stakeholders must be able to participate in each underlying transmission owner’s transmission planning process.  Continue Reading FERC Denies Complaint Regarding PG&E’s Order No. 890 Compliance

On July 26, 2018, FERC approved AEP Energy Partners, Inc.’s (“AEP Energy”) request that Sharyland Utilities, L.P., AEP Texas, Inc., and Electric Transmission Texas, LLC (collectively, “Tie Owners”) provide AEP Energy with transmission service across interconnections between the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (“ERCOT”) and the Mexcian Comisión Federal de Electricidad (“CFE”) transmission system.  In issuing that ruling, FERC seemingly went out of its way to suggest that if two proposed transmission projects – unrelated to AEP Energy’s request – are completed, the interconnections between ERCOT and the CFE system could result in interstate power flows in ERCOT.  While the Commission did not go any further other than to point out this fact, if FERC finds that such interstate power flows exist, FERC could potentially subject utilities in ERCOT to FERC’s plenary Federal Power Act (“FPA”) jurisdiction. Continue Reading FERC Suggests Interstate Power Flows Could Be Coming to ERCOT

On July 5, 2018, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) proposed to restore provisions in its Open Access Transmission, Energy and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”) to allow Transmission Owners the discretion to elect to provide initial funding for network upgrades.  MISO filed its proposed Tariff changes after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) vacated earlier FERC orders that required MISO interconnection customers’ consent before allowing Transmission Owner funding of interconnection-related network upgrades.  Continue Reading MISO Proposes to Reinstate Prior Transmission Owner Network Upgrade Funding Mechanism

On June 21, 2018, FERC issued an order instituting several proceedings, pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act, to examine the methodology utilized by certain public utilities for calculating Accumulated Deferred Income Tax (“ADIT”) balances in their projected test year and annual true-up calculations for their formula transmission rates. Continue Reading FERC to Review ADIT Methodology for Certain Public Utilities’ Formula Transmission Rates

On June 12, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) rejected challenges to FERC orders modifying PJM’s financial transmission right (“FTR”) and auction revenue right (“ARR”) designs.  FERC had ordered changes to PJM’s FTR/ARR designs to address PJM’s inability to make all of the payments owed to FTR owners. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC’s Changes to PJM’s FTR and ARR Designs

On June 8, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) upheld FERC’s re-examination of an order regarding the effective rate for network upgrades in an Interconnection Agreement (“IA”) with the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”).  A power developer, West Deptford Energy, LLC (“West Deptford”), requested interconnection with PJM.  After the negotiations for the IA commenced, PJM’s effective rate changed, triggering a dispute between the parties as to the appropriate effective rate for the IA: the rate in effect at the start of negotiations or the rate in effect at the time the IA was completed. The D.C. Circuit agreed with FERC’s finding that the governing rate is the rate in effect at the time the IA was completed. Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC’s Decision Regarding the Timing of the Application of an Effective Rate

On May 24, 2018, FERC denied a complaint filed by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“NJBPU”) alleging unjust and unreasonable cost allocations for the Bergen-Linden Corridor transmission project (the “Project”) within the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) footprint.  FERC rejected NJBPU’s claims that, among other alleged problems, PJM’s implementation of certain provisions in its tariff and the Joint Operating Agreement (the “JOA”) with the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) unfairly insulated New York ratepayers from costs associated with the Project, at the expense of New Jersey ratepayers and in violation of FERC’s Order No. 1000.   Continue Reading FERC Denies NJBPU Complaint Regarding Bergen-Linden Corridor Project in PJM

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