On March 31, 2017, a group of California parties, consisting of various public power utilities and the California Public Utilities Commission (the “Complainants”), alleged in their complaint at FERC that Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s (“PG&E”) proposed transmission rates in its eighteenth rate filing (“TO-18”) contained significant errors and overstated expenses.  The Complainants requested that FERC investigate the proposed TO-18 rates, which FERC had already set for hearing and settlement judge procedures in a separate proceeding. In addition, the Complainants requested that FERC exercise its authority to supplement the refund effective date established for the proposed TO-18 rates, in the event that the record eventually justified establishing a revenue requirement below PG&E’s last “clean” rate, established through settlement in its seventeenth rate filing (“TO-17”).

On July 29, 2016, PG&E submitted TO-18 for filing, requesting an increase in its current wholesale Network Transmission Revenue Requirement of approximately $386.6 million.  In their March 31, 2017 complaint, the Complainants stated that they had identified numerous errors in PG&E’s cost-of-service calculations that would require a significant reduction to its proposed TO-18 rates.  Specifically, the Complainants alleged that various “themes” occurred throughout PG&E’s TO-18 filing, including: (1) proposed expenses that were inconsistent with established FERC policies and practices, which thereby resulted in overstated proposed rates; (2) an overstated wholesale Network Transmission Revenue Requirement; and (3) an improper allocation of expenses to wholesale Network Transmission service.

The Complainants stated that the numerous errors in PG&E’s cost-of-service calculations would reduce PG&E’s Network Transmission Revenue Requirement below the level requested by PG&E in its TO-18 filing, and below the level previously approved by settlement in TO-17.  Therefore, the Complainants explained that the March 31, 2017 complaint would “ensure that the Commission has the requisite authority to order refunds below the rate level established in TO-17.”

Lastly, the Complainants moved to consolidate the proceeding in which their March 31, 2017 complaint was filed with the ongoing TO-18 proceedings, stating that “common issues of law and fact warrant deciding the Complaint and the TO-18 case together.”

A copy of the Complaint may be found here.