On February 8, 2019, FERC approved nine revisions to the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) Tariff addressing its Public Policy Transmission Planning Process.  While the changes mainly provide additional process and transparency to NYISO’s existing procedures, NYISO also removed the requirement that the New York Public Service Commission (“New York Commission”) issue an order confirming the transmission need before NYISO can move forward with its planning process.

NYISO’s transmission planning process was implemented in 2014 and many of the revisions approved this month were requested by stakeholders.  The revisions provide for a more robust process by including a technical conference with developers and a schedule to achieve major milestones, as well as more specificity with respect to requirements for project descriptions, handling of confidential information, changes to interest earned on deposits, etc.  The New York Commission generally supported the changes, but asked FERC to ensure that the tariff provided at least 120 days for the New York Commission to review the “Viability and Sufficiency Assessment” of any proposed transmission solutions and issue an order following a public comment period before they were selected by NYISO.

FERC ultimately determined that all nine changes were just and reasonable.  With respect to the New York Commission’s request, FERC found that a specific timing requirement was unnecessary as the state commission retained its rights to issue orders at any time to eliminate or modify the need for new transmission projects, and impractical given that NYISO’s process was at minimum a two-year cycle.  FERC also noted the New York Commission’s siting authority remained untouched by the tariff revisions.  Thus, the changes allow NYISO to expedite its transmission planning process, but do not prohibit the state commission from assessing the transmission need or evaluating the potential alternatives.

A copy of the order is available here.