On April 18, 2013, the Commission dismissed a self-recertification filed by an Exempt Wholesale Generator (“EWG”), Prairie Breeze Wind Energy LLC (“Prairie Breeze”).  The Commission provided additional guidance regarding self-recertification for EWGs, and specifically what constitutes a “material change in facts” prompting the need for self- recertification.

Prairie Breeze self-certified as an EWG in July 2009.  On February 27, 2013, Prairie Breeze submitted a notice of self-recertification to address a proposed increase in its wind generation project, which it characterized as a “material change in facts” from those contained in its initial 2009 self-certification.  The Commission dismissed Prairie Breeze’s notice of self-certification, and further stated that the Commission’s regulations do not specify generation facility size as a relevant fact to satisfying the definition of EWG.

In its order, the Commission explained that EWG status depends on representations as to certain facts established in 18 C.F.R. §§ 366.1 and 366.7(c), generally: (1) the ownership and operation of an eligible facility and sale of electric energy at wholesale; (2) the use of the particular electric generation facility as it relates to generation of electric energy and interconnection of transmission facilities necessary for sale of electric energy at wholesale; (3) constraints on the rates or charges in connection with the construction of the generation facility or the electric energy produced; and (4) affiliate concerns.  Further, the Commission’s regulations require that an EWG must file a notice of any material change in facts that may affect its EWG status within 30 days of the change.  The Commission’s order describes a “material change in facts” as a change in the facts that “establish EWG status” or more specifically, those contained in the Commission’s regulations.   Despite Prairie Breeze’s self-recertification filing, the Commission held that a change in capacity of the generation facility does not affect eligible facility status, as initial self-certification does not require “specification of the facility’s size.”

The Commission noted that it “has become common” for EWGs to file notices for such non-material changes in facts.  The Commission reiterated that these notices are “optional and need not be filed.”   The Commission’s order noted that Commissioner Moeller is concurring with a separate statement to be issued at a later date.

A copy of the Commission’s Order is available here.