On January 19, 2021, FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry (“NOI”) seeking comments on the appropriate accounting and reporting treatment for certain renewable energy assets and for the purchase, generation and use of renewable energy credits (“REC”). Specifically, FERC requested input on the potential creation of new, non-hydro renewable technology accounts within the Uniform System of Accounts (“USofA”), the potential reporting requirements for such accounts, and how the creation of such accounts may impact formula rates. FERC also asked for comments on whether to codify the accounting treatment of the purchase, generation, and use of RECs. Initial comments are due March 27, 2021, with reply comments due April 26, 2021.
Continue Reading FERC Issues Notice of Inquiry on Accounting Treatment of Renewable Energy Assets

On December 21, 2020, FERC modified its previous cost-of-service compensation decisions allowing Constellation Mystic Power, LLC (“Mystic”) to continue operating two gas-fired generation facilities (“Mystic 8 and 9”) fueled exclusively by an affiliate, Everett Marine Terminal (“Everett”), which, like Mystic, is owned by Exelon Generation Company, LLC (“Exelon”). Commissioner Richard Glick dissented, reiterating his belief that FERC has exceeded its jurisdiction to “bail out” the liquified natural gas (“LNG”) import terminal.
Continue Reading FERC Alters Mystic’s Cost-of-Service Agreement; Commissioner Glick Dissents Again

On December 17, 2020, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to revise its regulations to establish incentives for public utilities to make certain cybersecurity investments that go beyond the current requirements of the Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standards established by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) (“Cybersecurity NOPR”). Specifically, FERC proposed rules to allow regulated entities to:

  1. receive incentive-based rate treatment for the voluntary implementation of: (i) certain NERC CIP Reliability Standards to facilities that are not currently subject to those requirements (“NERC CIP Incentives Approach”), and/or (ii) certain security controls included in the National Institute of Standards and Technology Framework (“NIST Framework Approach”);
  2. request a return-on-equity adder of two hundred (200) basis points for making eligible cybersecurity capital investments; and
  3. defer cost recovery of certain cybersecurity costs that are generally expensed as incurred, and treat such costs as regulatory assets that may be included in transmission rate base.


Continue Reading FERC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Cybersecurity Investment Incentives

On December 2, 2020, FERC clarified that when an entity with passive equity holdings in a company later wants to assume operational responsibilities over the company, the entity must obtain authorization under Federal Power Act (“FPA”) section 203 prior to the assumption of operational management responsibilities. FERC’s December 2 order on rehearing modified the discussion in a May 29, 2020 order in the proceedings approving Tenaska Lotus Holdings, LLC’s (“Tenaska Lotus”) assumption of rights as operations manager of 41MB 8me, LLC (“Project Company”) (together, “Applicants”), a 51 MW solar facility in California.
Continue Reading FERC Clarifies FPA Section 203 Authorization Requirements Prior to Acquisition of a Utility’s Operational Management Responsibilities

On December 2, 2020, FERC ordered ISO New England, Inc. (“ISO-NE”) to remove the price-lock mechanism and zero-price offer rule (together, the “New Entrant Rules”) from Tariff provisions relating to its Forward Capacity Market (“FCM”), finding that the price certainty benefit afforded by these rules no longer outweighs their price suppressive effects. FERC also clarified that its termination of these rules would not impact price-lock agreements in effect prior to the issuance of its order. FERC thus ordered ISO-NE to eliminate the New Entrant rules starting in its sixteenth Forward Capacity Auction (“FCA”).
Continue Reading FERC Orders ISO-NE to Remove FCM New Entrant Rules From its Tariff

On November 12, 2020, FERC accepted two compliance filings submitted by PJM Interconnection, L.LC. (“PJM”) in which PJM proposed updates to its reserve market and forward-looking energy and ancillary services offset (“E&AS Offset”) used in PJM’s capacity market. Commissioner Glick filed a partial dissent, stating that, while he agreed with the implementation of the E&AS Offset, the order was otherwise implementing an unjust and unreasonable rate.
Continue Reading FERC Largely Accepts PJM Reserve Market Compliance Filings

On October 30, 2020, FERC rejected ISO New England Inc.’s (“ISO-NE”) proposed revisions to the ISO-NE tariff to resolve long-term fuel security concerns in the New England region. FERC found that ISO-NE’s proposed solutions would substantially increase consumer costs without meaningfully improving fuel security in the region, and offered guidance on how ISO-NE might develop a just and reasonable approach to address its fuel security concerns.
Continue Reading FERC Rejects ISO-NE’s Long-Term Fuel Security Proposal

On October 26, 2020, FERC issued an order on rehearing sustaining its previous order in which it accepted PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) proposed revisions to the PJM Operating Agreement related to the Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (“RTEP”) that allow project developers to submit voluntary binding cost commitment proposals and that specify PJM’s methodology for considering the cost-effectiveness of such proposals. FERC disagreed with arguments raised by certain PJM transmission owners that the revisions would usurp FERC’s authority, that they lacked specificity, and that the revisions were not submitted in compliance with the procedural requirements of PJM’s Operating Agreement.
Continue Reading FERC Affirms PJM’s Voluntary Binding Cost Commitment Requirements Related to RTEP

On October 15, 2020, FERC issued an order sustaining, with modifications, its previous denial of a complaint that claimed New York Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“NYISO”) buyer-side market (“BSM”) power mitigation rules were unjust, unreasonable and unduly discriminatory. FERC upheld its previous determination that the application of BSM rules to electric storage resources (“ESRs”) does not inappropriately interfere with state policies and that the complainants failed to show that NYISO’s existing rate was unjust and unreasonable because it over-mitigates electric storage resources. FERC’s order sparked a dissent from Commissioner Glick who argued that the majority’s order was arbitrary and capricious, and that BSM power mitigation should only apply to buyers with market power.
Continue Reading FERC Upholds Prior Decision Applying NYISO Buyer-Side Market Power Mitigation Rules to Electric Storage Resources

On October 7, 2020, FERC affirmed its prior determination that certain demand response resources participating in the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) capacity markets—termed Special Case Resources (“SCRs”)—should be subject to an offer floor, and required revenues from some retail-level demand response programs to be included in the offer floor calculations. Specifically, FERC: 1) addressed requests for rehearing of its February 2020 Order directing NYISO to apply its buyer-side mitigation (“BSM”) rules to all SCRs that participate in NYISO’s Installed Capacity (“ICAP”) market; 2) accepted NYISO’s compliance filing clarifying the offer floor price calculation for SCRs and directed NYISO to submit a further compliance filing; and 3) found, on the basis of a paper hearing established in the February 2020 Order, that payments received under the Distribution Load Relief Programs (“DLRP”) qualify for exclusion from the calculation of SCR offer floors, but that payments received under the Commercial System Distribution Load Relief Programs (“CSPRs”) do not. Commissioner Richard Glick issued a strenuous dissenting opinion to FERC’s order.
Continue Reading FERC Subjects NYISO Demand Response Resources to Buyer-Side Mitigation Rules