On April 29, 2022, the FERC rejected Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc.’s (“MISO”) proposed tariff revisions that sought to “extend” MISO Transmission Owners’ option to self-fund transmission upgrades so as to apply to Necessary Upgrades to support the connection of Merchant High Voltage Direct Current (“MHVDC”) transmission into MISO. FERC found that MISO failed to show its proposal was just and reasonable because MISO argued that Network Upgrades and Necessary Upgrades were functionally identical yet only proposed to extend the self-funding option traditionally applied to Network Upgrades without also extending other funding options and protections for customers.
Continue Reading FERC Rejects MISO Proposal for Transmission Owners to Self-fund Necessary Upgrades to Connect Merchant HVDC Lines

On April 21, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to reform its policies regarding Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation. The NOPR follows from an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANOPR) on these reforms, which FERC issued in July 2021. Representing FERC’s most significant action on transmission planning and cost allocation in more than a decade, the NOPR outlines six major proposals:
Continue Reading Summary of FERC’s April 2022 NOPR on Transmission Planning, Cost Allocation, and Generator Interconnection

On April 5, 2022, FERC approved PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”) proposed revisions to the Consolidated Transmission Owners Agreement (“CTOA”) aimed at improving effectiveness and efficiency in decision-making among the 18 transmission owners currently eligible to vote on PJM business. Despite a protest arguing that the proposal would disenfranchise non-traditional transmission owners, FERC found that the proposed revisions “rebalance the CTOA voting rules to better align with individual PJM Transmission Owners’ economic stakes in the transmission system.”
Continue Reading FERC Approves New Voting Rules for PJM Transmission Owners

On December 28, 2021, the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) vacated and remanded a series of FERC orders that allowed for the formula rate pass-through of “indirect” public relations and advocacy expenditures incurred by Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, LLC (“PATH”) related to its pursuit of certificates of public convenience and necessity to build a proposed electric transmission line (“December 28 Opinion”). The D.C. Circuit held that PATH had improperly booked the expenditures to incorrect accounts under FERC’s Uniform System of Accounts (“USofA”), and that Account 426.4–Expenditures for Certain Civic, Political and Related Activities, should have been used instead because it contemplated the inclusion of indirect, as well as direct, public relations and advocacy expenses.

Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Vacates and Remands FERC Orders Permitting Formula Rate Pass-Through of “Indirect” Public Relations and Advocacy Expenditures

On December 30, 2021, FERC accepted the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc.’s (“MISO”) revisions to its Generator Interconnection Procedures (“GIP”), which MISO proposed to, among other things: (1) classify fuel type change requests made during the three-phase Definitive Planning Phase (“DPP”) of MISO’s generator interconnection study process as a material modification, and (2) allow interconnection customers to request surplus interconnection service earlier in the interconnection study process. As FERC found, MISO’s proposed changes represented a “reasonable compromise” to allow interconnection customers to request an earlier review of fuel change request through the surplus process, while minimizing disruptions to the formal DPP process posed by fuel type changes.
Continue Reading FERC Accepts MISO’s Revisions to its Generator Interconnection Procedures Regarding Fuel Type Changes

On December 16, 2021, the Commission issued its final rule on transmission line ratings that reforms both the pro forma Open Access Transmission Tariff (“OATT”) and the Commission’s corresponding regulations in an effort to improve the accuracy and transparency of transmission line ratings. The Commission stated that this rule will more efficiently utilize the transmission grid and help lower costs for consumers.
Continue Reading FERC Issues Final Rule on Transmission Line Ratings

On October 25, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) released a report regarding the lessons learned from the electric industry’s response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. NERC’s report described the industry’s response and provided possible solutions and paths for the industry’s future based on its findings.

Continue Reading NERC Issues Report on Lessons Learned from Utilities Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

On October 21, 2021, FERC denied multiple complaints against Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line Company, LP (“Panhandle”) regarding its refusal to waive all penalties associated with Operational Flow Orders (“OFO”) issued during the extreme Storm Uri weather event in February 2021. In doing so, FERC upheld penalties levied against Panhandle customers who argued they were forced to use the pipeline contrary to the OFO order to ensure reliable service for their own end-use customers.
Continue Reading FERC Rejects Attempts to Waive $75 Million in Pipeline Penalties During Storm Uri

On October 21, 2021, during the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s monthly open meeting, each Commissioner released an explanatory statement regarding their views of the Southeast Energy Market Exchange (“SEEM”) proposal. Ultimately, the proposal took effect by operation of law on October 12 after the Commission was divided two-two on the lawfulness of the proposal. Under such circumstances, the Federal Power Act requires each Commissioner to issue a written statement explaining their views with respect to the changes. The Commissioners were split on multiple issues, including whether the proposal provided enough protection for competition and whether the Mobile-Sierra presumption should apply to SEEM transactions.
Continue Reading FERC Commissioners Each Explain Southeast Energy Market Exchange Impasse