On January 19, 2023, FERC established that a facility’s classification as transmission or distribution under criteria established in the Southwest Power Pool, Inc.’s (“SPP”) Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”) can be overcome in a challenge at the Commission if the protestors provide sufficient evidence to call into question the classification under the Tariff criteria. FERC found that once protestors present evidence that the facilities are distribution under FERC’s seven-factor test, the burden of proof shifts back to the filing transmission provider and transmission owner seeking a specific classification under Section 205 of the Federal Power Act to demonstrate its proposed classification under FERC’s seven-factor test. FERC found that GridLiance High Plains, LLC (“GridLiance”), as the applicable transmission owner, failed to carry this burden to demonstrate its facilities at issue were transmission facilities after such a challenge.

Continue Reading FERC Affirms Burden of Persuasion Rests on Proponents of Transmission Asset Classifications under FERC’s Seven-Factor Test, Notwithstanding Tariff Classifications

On January 19, 2023, FERC issued an order upholding its decision to exercise primary jurisdiction over emergency energy sales between Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) and Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (“AECI”) during Winter Storm Uri and FERC’s decision that SPP properly compensated AECI pursuant to its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”).

Continue Reading On Rehearing, FERC Upholds Jurisdiction over AECI Emergency Energy Transactions in SPP Market During Winter Storm Uri

On January 19, 2023, the Commission issued a final rule that directs the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to develop and submit reliability standards for monitoring high and medium impact bulk electric systems with high-speed internet connections. The Commission stated that the new reliability standards would assist entities in monitoring network traffic inside the bulk electric systems and detecting unauthorized activity inside those systems.

Continue Reading FERC Directs NERC to Develop Internal Network Security Monitoring for High and Medium Impact Bulk Electric System Cyber Systems

On December 16, 2022, FERC again rejected the Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc. (“MISO”) proposal for Transmission Owners to self-fund Necessary Upgrades to connect Merchant High Voltage Direct Current (“HVDC”) transmission lines into MISO and addressed arguments on rehearing. Commissioner Danly dissented and Commissioner Christie concurred in separate statements. Chairman Glick did not participate.

Continue Reading On Rehearing FERC Again Rejects MISO Proposal for Transmission Owners to Self-Fund Necessary Upgrades to Connect Merchant HVDC Lines

On December 15, 2022, FERC issued an order accepting Arizona Public Service Company’s (“APS”) revisions to its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”) that would allow APS to begin using the Flowgate Methodology for calculating Available Transfer Capability (“ATC”) instead of its current Rated System Path Methodology. In addition, FERC denied APS’s request to waive the requirement to post its Total Transfer Capability (“TTC”) values on the Open Access Same Time Information System (“OASIS”).

Continue Reading FERC Accepts Arizona Public Service Company’s Proposal to Adopt Flowgate ATC Methodology and Denies Its Request to Waive TTC Posting Requirements

On December 15, 2022, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) seeking to revise its regulations governing applications for permits to site electric transmission facilities under § 216 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”). Specifically, the NOPR seeks to: (1) revise Section 50.6 of FERC’s regulations to reflect the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s (“IIJA”) amendments to the FPA § 216; (2) eliminate the required one-year delay before the commencement of FERC’s pre-filing process; (3) supplement the existing landowner and stakeholder participation provisions in Part 50 of its regulations; and (4) revise the timing of the required Project Participation Plan (“Plan”) in the pre-filing application process.

Continue Reading FERC Issues Proposed Rule Implementing FPA Amendments in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act

On November 18, 2022, FERC accepted a September 19, 2022 proposal from the California Independent System Operator (“CAISO”) to correct “excessively high” payments being made to electric storage resources that are forced to discharge to meet state of charge requirements when providing ancillary services. The proposal also aims to encourage those resources to reflect opportunity costs through their ancillary services bids rather than energy bids.

Continue Reading FERC Accepts CAISO Proposal to Correct Payment Overcollections by Storage Resources

On November 29, 2022, FERC conditionally accepted PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) tariff revisions to transition from a serial first-come, first-served generator interconnection queue process to a first-ready, first-served clustered cycle approach. FERC found that the revisions will help reduce interconnection queue backlogs and delays.

Continue Reading FERC Conditionally Accepts PJM Interconnection Reforms for a First-Ready, First-Served Clustered Cycle Approach

On November 28, 2022, various State Attorneys General intervened to protest (the “Protest”) a filing made by The Vanguard Group, Inc., along with its affiliated entities (collectively, “Vanguard”) requesting to extend the blanket waiver authorization granted by the Commission for acquisitions of voting securities of publicly traded utilities. Utah, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas, by and through their Attorneys General (collectively, “the States”), requested that the Commission deny Vanguard’s application for blanket reauthorization and set the proceeding for hearing.

Continue Reading Various State Attorneys General Urge FERC to Revoke Vanguard’s Blank Waiver to Acquire Utility Securities

On November 17, 2022, FERC issued three orders intended to address the reliability impacts of the rapid integration of inverter-based resources (“IBRs”), including solar, wind, fuel cell, and battery storage resources, on the Bulk-Power System (“BPS”). Specifically, in the first proceeding, FERC directed the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) to develop a plan to register the entities that own and operate IBRs so that NERC may monitor their compliance with NERC’s Reliability Standards. In the second proceeding, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) to direct NERC to develop new or modified Reliability Standards that address reliability gaps related to IBRs. Lastly, in the final proceeding, FERC approved revisions to two of NERC’s Reliability Standards.

Continue Reading FERC Issues Proposals Regarding Inverter-Based Resources to Improve Grid Reliability