On November 30, 2015, the Commission rejected proposed revisions to Southwest Power Pool, Inc’s (“SPP”) Open Access Transmission Tariff (“OATT”) that would have created a new category of transmission facility—called a “Seams Transmission Project”—eligible for approval under SPP’s transmission planning and cost allocation processes.

In its September 24, 2015 filing, SPP described its proposal as establishing the terms and conditions for “the study, approval, and cost allocation of transmission facilities identified pursuant to coordinated transmission planning between SPP and external entities that are outside the scope of, or do not qualify for, Order No. 1000 interregional coordination and cost allocation.”

In its November 30, 2015 order, FERC rejected SPP’s filing. The Commission found that SPP had failed to demonstrate that its proposed OATT revisions were sufficiently tailored so as to distinguish Seams Transmission Projects from projects that would otherwise qualify under SPP’s Order No. 1000 processes. Specifically, the Commission stated that SPP’s proposed revisions: (i) did not distinguish the criteria to be used in classifying a “Seams Transmission Project” from the criteria used to qualify under SPP’s Order No. 1000 interregional processes; (ii) did not explicitly limit, within the SPP integrated planning process, Seams Transmission Projects to those projects that are ineligible for Order No. 1000 cost allocation; and (iii) did not contain any prohibitions or limitations to support SPP’s assertions that projects that are eligible for SPP’s Order No. 1000 interregional processes may not be classified and evaluated as Seams Transmission Projects.

The Commission also found that SPP’s proposed planning process for Seams Transmission Projects did not adequately explain the methodology to be used with respect to how a Seams Transmission Project would progress from identification to approval for construction, and, by extension, how the resulting facility would create just and reasonable rates under SPP’s proposed cost allocation.

Lastly, the Commission determined that SPP had failed to outline how a Seams Transmission Project identified through various planning processes—both those under Order No. 1000 and not under Order No. 1000—would ultimately assimilate into the Order No. 1000 Transmission Owner Selection Process.

The Commission noted that while it was rejecting SPP’s proposal, it was not precluding SPP “from making a filing with the Commission on a project-by-project basis for facilities that are not Order No. 1000 facilities but may relate to seams concerns with an associated cost allocation and justifying the specific cost allocation for that specific type of non-Order No. 1000 project.”

A copy of the Commission’s order may be found here.