On October 19, 2017, FERC accepted modifications to the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) Open Access Transmission, Energy, and Operating Reserve Markets Tariff (“Tariff”), subject to certain conditions and further compliance in response to FERC’s January 3, 2017 order (“January 3 Order”) directing MISO to modify certain provisions of its Generator Interconnection Procedures concerning how MISO provides interconnection service to two classes of interconnection customers.  

In the January 3 Order, FERC conditionally accepted revisions to the pro forma E-NRIS Service Agreement.  FERC instructed MISO to submit, among other things, a new Appendix B to the pro forma E-NRIS Service Agreement that: (1) either included all milestones from Appendix B to the pro forma Generator Interconnection Agreement (“GIA”) or explained why certain milestones did not apply; and (2) specifically included section B (transmission owner’s milestones) to Appendix B of the pro forma GIA.

In its February 2, 2017 filing, MISO proposed to retain the milestones currently listed in Appendix B, noting that the additional milestones do not apply to E-NRIS customers and that an E-NRIS customer already has a GIA with its home transmission provider.  In addition, MISO stated that because the transmission owner is not a party to the E-NRIS Service Agreement, inclusion of the transmission owner’s milestone obligations in Appendix B of the pro forma GIA is not appropriate.  Therefore, MISO proposed to include new language in section B to clarify that any transmission owner milestones would be contemplated in a Facilities Construction Agreement between MISO, the transmission owner, and the interconnection customer.

In its October 19, 2017 order, FERC found that MISO’s proposed E-NRIS provisions were just and reasonable and, with limited exceptions, in compliance with the directives in the January 3 Order.  With respect to its directive in the January 3 Order to include all milestones from Appendix B to the pro forma GIA or explain why certain milestones do not apply, FERC agreed with MISO that there was no need to include additional milestones in Appendix B in cases where the E-NRIS customer is already in-service and has a GIA with its home transmission provider because the additional milestones (which focus largely on the implementation of interconnection facilities) would not apply, as those interconnection facilities would already be in place for a generator that is in-service.  Accordingly, FERC found that such E-NRIS customers should be permitted in the E-NRIS Service Agreement to simply indicate that the milestones do not apply to them, as they are already in-service.

However, FERC found that in cases where an E-NRIS customer is a generator that is still under construction or subject to an unsuspended GIA, the principle of comparability required that such E-NRIS customers abide by similar milestones in MISO that are applicable to internal generators seeking to interconnect in MISO.  FERC previously stated that “[t]ariff provisions should ensure that all interconnection customers, internal and external, and new and existing, are treated comparably.”  Accordingly, FERC directed MISO to add, in a compliance filing to be made within 30 days, milestones to Appendix B of the pro forma E-NRIS Service Agreement that “ensure that generators whose projects are under development in another transmission provider’s interconnection process and are seeking E-NRIS with MISO are making adequate progress toward interconnection with their home transmission provider.”

With respect to FERC’s second directive in the January 3 Order that MISO specifically include section B (transmission owner’s milestones) to Appendix B of the pro forma GIA, FERC agreed with MISO’s plan to include clarifying language, specifying that milestone obligations of a transmission owner would be contemplated by a Facilities Construction Agreement.  However, FERC found that MISO’s proposed language was deficient in that it did not provide the needed clarity to ensure that E-NRIS customers were being treated comparably with other similarly-situated interconnection customers, as the proposed additional text did not include the use of a Multi-Party Facilities Construction Agreement.  Therefore, FERC directed MISO to make a compliance filing that alters the proposed language within 30 days.

A copy of FERC’s order can be found here.