On November 29, 2021, FERC issued a notice stating that the requests for rehearing on PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s Focused Minimum Offer Price Rule (“Focused MOPR”) policy, which went into effect by operation of law on September 29, 2021 (see October 29, 2021 edition of the WER) were deemed denied by operation of law. FERC’s notice triggers a 60-day clock under the Federal Power Act for parties to petition for appellate review. The November 29 notice followed rehearing requests filed by parties including the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Electric Power Supply Association, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, Vistra Corporation, and the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. In addition to the rehearing requests, the PJM Power Providers Group has already appealed the Focused MOPR to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and submitted comments responding to Chairman Glick’s and Commissioner Clements’ joint statement in support of the Focused MOPR.
Continue Reading Parties Request Rehearing of PJM’s Focused MOPR Policy

On September 29, 2021, FERC recognized that PJM’s Minimum Offer Price Rule (“MOPR”) replacement proposal, previously filed with FERC on July 30, 2021, went into effect by operation of law after the Commission failed to act on PJM’s filing within the 60-day statutory deadline. FERC’s notice stated that FERC did not act on PJM’s filing because the Commissioners are divided two-to-two as to the filing’s lawfulness. Consistent with the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), the Commissioners each issued a statement explaining his or her view on PJM’s MOPR replacement proposal. Going forward, PJM’s MOPR replacement proposal has already been appealed based on an emergency request for rehearing of FERC’s September 29 notice. Additional requests for rehearing continue to be filed prior to the October 29 deadline.
Continue Reading PJM MOPR Replacement Takes Effect by Operation of Law; Commissioners Issue Separate Statements

On September 2, 2021, FERC accepted a new Market Seller Offer Cap (“MSOC”) in the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) capacity market that will require all capacity market sellers offering above $0/MW-day to, at their election, obtain approval for their offer from PJM’s Market Monitor or utilize a default MSOC equal to the resource’s applicable gross Avoidable Cost Rate (“ACR”)—i.e., its annual operating costs—less the resource’s net energy and ancillary services (“E&AS”) revenues (“ACR Proposal”). Commissioner James Danly issued a separate dissenting statement in which he argued that the ACR Proposal will lead to over-mitigation, in part because it will require the Market Monitor to review a higher number of capacity offers than under PJM’s previously-effective MSOC. In a compliance filing on FERC’s September 2 order, PJM asked for a 55-day delay of its upcoming capacity auction (currently scheduled to begin December 1, 2021) in order to allow time for the Market Monitor to perform the required unit-specific review under the new MSOC. As of this writing, FERC has not yet acted on PJM’s request.
Continue Reading FERC Accepts Replacement Offer Cap for PJM Capacity Markets; PJM Requests Capacity Auction Delay to Implement New Offer Cap

On August 27, 2021, in Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company v. FERC, Case No. 20-1062, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) denied petitions for review of FERC’s orders involving the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) process for reimbursing certain of its customers for transmission system upgrades that those customers paid for pursuant to Attachment Z2 of SPP’s Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”). The D.C. Circuit’s order upheld FERC’s decision to deny retroactive waiver of Section I.7.1 of SPP’s Tariff—which provides that any billing adjustments must be made within one year after the charges were incurred—thus preventing SPP from implementing the Attachment Z2 revenue crediting process retroactively from 2008-2016. The court also upheld FERC’s orders requiring SPP to refund any charges it previously collected for the 2008-2016 period. Basing its decision on the filed rate doctrine, the court concluded that “the filed rate requirements are a formidable obstacle for entities regulated by FERC that wish to obtain retroactive relief from the terms of their tariff.”
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Denies Petitions for Review; Holds that the Filed Rate Doctrine Prevents SPP from Reimbursing Customers for Historical Transmission Upgrade Costs

On July 9, 2021, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) denied in part and granted in part a petition for review of FERC’s orders accepting revisions to PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) Forward Capacity Market (“FCM”). The Petition was filed by the Delaware Division of the Public Advocate, Maryland Office of the People’s Counsel, and the Office of the People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia (“Petitioners”). The Court upheld FERC’s use of a Combustion Turbine (“CT”) plant as the Reference Resource in approving the net Cost of New Entry (“net CONE”) calculation, and found that FERC’s approval of a 10 percent adder on Reference Resource’s assumed energy market offer was arbitrary and capricious. The Court remanded the case for proceedings consistent with its decision on the 10 percent adder.
Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Upholds Use of Combustion Turbine as Reference Resource in PJM Capacity Market, Finds 10% Net CONE Adder Arbitrary and Capricious

On June 23, 2021, FERC accepted in part and rejected in part the New York Independent System Operator’s (“NYISO”) February 2021 proposal to revise its process for procuring operating reserves throughout the New York Control Area (“NYCA”). FERC accepted NYISO’s proposed revisions to its Operating Reserves Demand Curve (“ORDC”), including revisions to certain shortage pricing values, subject to a compliance filing providing at least two weeks’ notice of the actual effective date of the revisions. NYISO subsequently submitted that compliance filing on June 29, 2021 noting an effective date of July 13, 2021. The June 23 order also rejected NYISO’s proposal to establish a process for procuring reserves in excess of quantities required by minimum reliability standards, without prejudice to NYISO submitting a more specific proposal in the future.
Continue Reading FERC Accepts NYISO Operating Reserve Pricing Proposal, Rejects Proposal for Procuring Supplemental Reserves

On June 17, 2021, FERC set aside its previous decision in Order No. 2222-A that allowed state regulatory authorities to prohibit demand response resources from participating in distributed energy resource (“DER”) aggregations in wholesale energy markets when the DER aggregation contains only demand response resources. As a result, upon the effective date of Order No. 2222-B, state regulatory authorities will be able to prohibit demand response resources from participating in all wholesale DER aggregations. However, FERC also stated that it will further consider the issue in the Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) proceeding established in Order No. 2222-A to consider whether to revise its regulations to remove the demand response opt-out established in Order Nos. 719 and 719-A. FERC also extended the comment period in the NOI proceeding to ensure an adequate opportunity for interested parties to comment on these issues. Finally, Order No. 2222-B clarified the appropriate restrictions to avoid double counting of services and the compensation of demand response resources that participate in DER aggregations. Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and James Danly wrote separate concurring opinions; Commissioner Mark Christie concurred in part and dissented in part.
Continue Reading FERC Issues Order No. 2222-B, Setting Demand Response Opt-Out for Further Consideration

On May 20, 2021, FERC issued a Show Cause Order directing GreenHat Energy, LLC (“GreenHat”) and its owners to show why they did not violate the Federal Power Act, FERC’s regulations, the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) Tariff, and the PJM Operating Agreement by manipulating PJM’s Financial Transmission Rights (“FTR”) market, generating $13 million in unjust profits and imposing $179 million in losses on PJM members. FERC also directed GreenHat and its owners to file an answer with FERC within 30 days showing why they should not be required to disgorge $13 million in unjust profits, plus interest, and to pay civil penalties totaling $229 million. FERC’s order is accompanied by a report from FERC’s Office of Enforcement (“OE Report”). Commissioner James Danly issued a separate concurring statement.
Continue Reading FERC Issues Show Cause Order Directing GreenHat Energy to Respond to Market Manipulation Claims

On April 30, 2021, FERC rejected PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) proposed revisions to both its Tariff and its Reliability Assurance Agreement (“RAA”) to implement an Effective Load Carrying Capability (“ELCC”) construct for determining capacity values for Variable Resources, Limited Duration Resources, and Combination Resources. PJM also proposed to update its capacity value analysis annually based on variations in resource deployment and load. To account for changes in capacity values from one year to the next, PJM had proposed a transition mechanism that would establish ELCC floor values for resources on a rolling annual basis for 13 years after they enter the PJM capacity market. FERC rejected PJM’s ELCC proposal, finding the proposed transition mechanism to be unjust and unreasonable. However, FERC found that aside from the transition mechanism, other portions of the ELCC framework appear to be just and reasonable for determining accredited capacity values. FERC lifted its previously-established abeyance on the paper hearing procedures addressing PJM’s capacity valuation method, and established a briefing schedule. FERC acknowledged that PJM is under no obligation to implement its ELCC proposal prior to the next Base Residual Auction (for Delivery Year 2022/2023), but emphasized that it “specified an expedient paper hearing schedule to investigate the justness and reasonableness of PJM’s existing capacity valuation methods as soon as possible.” Commissioner Christie issued a separate concurring statement.
Continue Reading FERC Rejects PJM ELCC Proposal Based on Transition Mechanism; Establishes Paper Hearing Procedures

On April 15, 2021, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) to supplement the March 2020 NOPR regarding its electric transmission incentive policy under Federal Power Act (“FPA”) section 219 (see March 23, 2020 edition of the WER). While FERC’s March 2020 NOPR proposed to provide all utilities that turn over their wholesale transmission facilities to a Regional Transmission Organization (“RTO”) a fixed 100 basis-point increase in return on equity (“ROE”) (“RTO Participation Incentive”), the Supplemental NOPR proposes instead to codify its current practice of granting a 50 basis-point RTO Participation Incentive for utilities that join an RTO. In addition, FERC proposes that a utility will only be eligible for the incentive for the first three years after transferring operational control of its facilities to an RTO. The Supplemental NOPR also seeks comment on whether the RTO participation adder should be available solely to utilities that join an RTO voluntarily, and if so, how FERC should determine that the decision to join was voluntary. Commissioner Mark Christie issued a separate concurring statement, and Commissioners Neil Chatterjee and James Danly each issued separate dissenting statements.
Continue Reading FERC Proposes Reforms to RTO Participation Incentive in Supplemental NOPR