On September 28, 2017, FERC accepted the change in status filing submitted by Portland General Electric Company (“Portland General”) and granted Portland General authorization to transact at market-based rates in the Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”) administered by California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”).  Portland General’s change in status filing included a market power analysis examining the entire EIM footprint, as well as an analysis that the Portland General balancing authority area (“BAA”) will not be a submarket within the EIM, once Portland General begins its participation in the EIM on October 1, 2017.

In its change of status filing, Portland General provided an analysis to demonstrate that its BAA does not constitute a separate submarket within the EIM.  FERC accepted Portland General’s submarket analysis and found it to be consistent with FERC’s prior guidance to EIM participants on how to study submarkets within the EIM.  FERC agreed with Portland General’s submarket analysis, which demonstrated that 200 MW of firm transmission is available for EIM transfers, which will allow sufficient competing imbalance energy to enter Portland General’s BAA.  Further, FERC also accepted Portland General’s analysis that showed there had not been any congestion over the relevant transmission paths during the study period covered by its market power analysis.

Portland General’s market power analysis also demonstrated that it passed both the pivotal supplier and wholesale market share screens in the 7-BAA EIM footprint, thereby establishing that it had no horizontal market power in the EIM.  While Portland General made some adjustments to the standard screens provided for in FERC’s Order No. 697, FERC agreed with Portland General’s market power analysis, which found that it would have market shares ranging from 1.1 to 1.5 percent.  Therefore, FERC found that, based on the indicative screen results and submarket analysis submitted with the change in status filing, Portland General was entitled to a rebuttable presumption that it did not have horizontal market power in the EIM.

Lastly, Portland General reasoned that because its transmission facilities are subject to the terms and conditions of an Open Access Transmission Tariff already approved by FERC, and because it did not have the ability to erect other barriers to entry by competing suppliers, it lacked vertical market power.  FERC agreed.

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