On October 24, 2019, FERC denied Harbor Cogeneration Company, LLC’s (“Harbor”) complaint alleging that Southern California Edison Company (“SoCal Edison”) misclassified certain interconnection facilities contrary to FERC’s Order No. 2003 and violated SoCal Edison’s Transmission Owner Tariff (“TO Tariff”) in directly assigning the facility costs to Harbor without FERC “approval.” FERC denied the complaint and rejected Harbor’s request for refunds, reasoning that the charges constituted valid filed rates notwithstanding that FERC did not use the word “approve” in its delegated letter orders, and that, therefore, the charges were lawfully imposed regardless of any alleged conflicts with FERC interconnection pricing policies.

On June 24, 2019, Harbor filed a complaint alleging, among other things, that SoCal Edison (1) incorrectly classified certain interconnection facilities constructed pursuant to various legacy interconnection agreements as direct assigned facilities rather than as network upgrades, and (2) impermissibly assigned the costs for those direct assigned facilities by failing to get FERC “approval” for the charges, as required by the TO Tariff. According to Harbor, most of the interconnection facilities qualified as network upgrades under FERC’s “at or beyond the point of interconnection” test under Order No. 2003. Moreover, Harbor claimed that SoCal Edison impermissibly assessed the charges because the TO Tariff states that such direct assignment rates are “subject to FERC approval” and FERC did not expressly “approve” the rates in its delegated letter orders accepting the agreements. Harbor requested that FERC require SoCal Edison refund Harbor, with interest, for the costs of the monthly interconnection facilities charges and provide a return of Harbor’s capital contribution, with interest, for the replacement of the circuit breakers.

SoCal Edison responded that Harbor’s complaint should be dismissed, primarily arguing that the direct assignment charges were properly filed rates and lawfully assessed. In addition, SoCal Edison argued that nothing in the TO Tariff disturbed the charges imposed under the previously-executed interconnection agreements, and that FERC’s “at or beyond the point of interconnection test” became effective well after the agreements came into effect.

In denying the complaint, FERC found that while it had never used the word “approved” in its delegated letter orders accepting the interconnection agreements, the agreements were properly filed with and accepted by FERC under section 205 of the Federal Power Act, and therefore constituted filed rates carrying the force of law. FERC found that Harbor did not show that the Tariff required FERC to use the word “approve” in making SoCal Edison’s interconnection agreements filings filed rate. As FERC had concluded that SoCal Edison had acted consistently with the filed rate, it did not offer any analysis on the alleged conflicts between FERC’s interconnection pricing policies and the TO Tariff, stating that the interconnection agreements, once on file with FERC, are binding, regardless of such conflicts.

A copy of the order is available here.