On January 19, 2023, FERC issued an order upholding its decision to exercise primary jurisdiction over emergency energy sales between Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) and Associated Electric Cooperative, Inc. (“AECI”) during Winter Storm Uri and FERC’s decision that SPP properly compensated AECI pursuant to its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”).Continue Reading On Rehearing, FERC Upholds Jurisdiction over AECI Emergency Energy Transactions in SPP Market During Winter Storm Uri
On December 15, 2022, FERC issued an order accepting Arizona Public Service Company’s (“APS”) revisions to its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”) that would allow APS to begin using the Flowgate Methodology for calculating Available Transfer Capability (“ATC”) instead of its current Rated System Path Methodology. In addition, FERC denied APS’s request to waive the requirement to post its Total Transfer Capability (“TTC”) values on the Open Access Same Time Information System (“OASIS”).Continue Reading FERC Accepts Arizona Public Service Company’s Proposal to Adopt Flowgate ATC Methodology and Denies Its Request to Waive TTC Posting Requirements
On November 28, 2022, various State Attorneys General intervened to protest (the “Protest”) a filing made by The Vanguard Group, Inc., along with its affiliated entities (collectively, “Vanguard”) requesting to extend the blanket waiver authorization granted by the Commission for acquisitions of voting securities of publicly traded utilities. Utah, Indiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Texas, by and through their Attorneys General (collectively, “the States”), requested that the Commission deny Vanguard’s application for blanket reauthorization and set the proceeding for hearing.Continue Reading Various State Attorneys General Urge FERC to Revoke Vanguard’s Blank Waiver to Acquire Utility Securities
On November 17, 2022, FERC granted a petition for declaratory order (“Petition”) filed by Ameresco, Inc. (“Ameresco”) and its subsidiaries (collectively with Ameresco, “the Ameresco Companies”) requesting exemption from certain “books and records” requirements under the Commission’s Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005 (“PUHCA”) regulations because its ownership of certain grid-charged battery storage subsidiaries might otherwise have caused Ameresco to lose its automatic “books and records” exemption under PUHCA. FERC granted the Petition, notwithstanding the fact that some of the storage subsidiaries would not otherwise qualify for the non-traditional utility “books and records” exemption, because the “Ameresco Companies’ books, accounts, memoranda, and other records are not relevant to the jurisdictional rates of Ameresco Companies.”Continue Reading FERC Finds PUHCA Exemptions Appropriate for Holding Company Ownership of Grid-Charging Storage Facilities Selling at Retail
On October 25, 2022, FERC declined to act on a petition for enforcement against California’s rules for solar installations implemented pursuant to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (“PURPA”). As a result, ongoing federal litigation against the California rules will continue.Continue Reading FERC Declines to Act on California Rooftop Solar PURPA Petition
On October 20, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the “Commission”) issued an order addressing Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company, GridLiance High Plans LLC, and the Indicated SPP Transmission Owners’ (consisting of Evergy Kansas Central, Inc., Evergy Metro, Inc., Evergy Missouri West, Inc., and ITC Great Plains, LLC) (together, the “Petitioners”) requests for rehearing and alternatively request for clarification of the Commission’s June 2022 Order accepting revisions to Southwest Power Pool, Inc.’s (“SPP”) Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”) (“Rehearing Order”). The Commission denied the Petitioners’ request for rehearing and sustained its June 2022 Order establishing SPP’s uniform Zonal Planning Criteria.Continue Reading FERC Sustains Prior Order Approving Revisions to SPP’s Tariff Establishing Uniform Zonal Planning Criteria
On September 21, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, released the text of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022 (Act). This comprehensive Act was set to be included in the upcoming Continuing Resolution; however, on September 27, Manchin pulled the Act from the Continuing Resolution given bipartisan opposition. The Act sought to improve energy production in the United States by accelerating agency review of certain energy projects and modernizing permitting laws.Continue Reading Senator Manchin’s Permitting Reform Bill Pulled From the Continuing Resolution
On August 19, 2022, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) denied a Petition for Review from LS Power and two other organizations (“Petitioners”) challenging FERC’s rejection of an earlier-submitted complaint against the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) method of allocating costs for certain transmission construction projects identified as Baseline Reliability Projects in MISO’s transmission planning process. As the D.C. Circuit determined, FERC’s rejection of the Petitioners’ complaint was not arbitrary and capricious, as the Petitioners had failed to demonstrate that MISO’s cost-allocation method was unjust and unreasonable.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Denies Transmission Developer Challenge to MISO Baseline Reliability Project Cost Allocation
On July 28, 2022, FERC proposed a new “duty of candor” rule that would broadly apply to “all entities communicating with the Commission or other specified organizations related to a matter subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission.” According to the Commission, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) is intended to capture the types of communications that may not have been included in the Commission’s existing communication rules and policies, some of which have an existing duty of candor standard.
Continue Reading FERC Proposes a New, Broader Duty of Candor Rule
On June 24th and 27th, 2022 FERC approved two stipulations and consent agreements between FERC’s Office of Enforcement (“Enforcement”) and two separate project developers. First, sPower Development Company, LLC (“sPower Devco”) agreed to a civil penalty of $24,000 after Enforcement determined that sPower Devco violated PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM’s”) Tariff by submitting inaccurate information in PJM’s interconnection process. Second, Salem Harbor Power Development LP (“Harbor Power Devco”) agreed to a civil penalty of $17 million, to disgorge $26.7 million in profits, and to submit to compliance monitoring after Enforcement found that it collected capacity revenues on a project that had not yet been built nor was in commercial operation.
Continue Reading Generation Project Developers Agree to Pay Civil Penalties, Disgorge Profits, after FERC Enforcement Investigations