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Summary of FERC Meeting Agenda for November 2020

Below are summaries of the agenda items for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's November 19, 2020 open meeting, pursuant to the agenda issued on November 13, 2020. Agenda item E-16 has not been summarized due to omission.

In this issue…

  • Electric Items
  • Gas Items
  • Hydro Items
  • Certificate Items

 

Electric

E-1 – Managing Transmission Line Ratings (Docket No. RM20-16-000). Agenda item E-1 may be a notice of proposed rulemaking incorporating Commission Staff's preliminary findings from the analysis of thermal line ratings using static, seasonal, ambient-adjusted, and dynamic line rating techniques in Docket No. AD19-15-000, Managing Transmission Lines.

E-2 – Qualifying Facility Rates and Requirements, Implementation Issues Under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (Docket Nos. RM19-15-001, AD16-16-001). On June 29, 2016, the Commission held a technical conference addressing issues related to the implementation of the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 (PURPA). Specifically, the technical conference focused on two issues: mandatory purchase obligations and avoided cost calculations. On September 19, 2019, the Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that purported to modernize PURPA regulations (PURPA Modernization NOPR). The PURPA Modernization NOPR, among other things, allows states to require energy rates to vary during the life of QF contracts, modifies the "one-mile rule," and lowers the threshold presumption for non-discriminatory access to power markets from 20 MW to 1 MW for small power production facilities, but not cogeneration facilities. Agenda item E-2 may be a final rule on PURPA Modernization addressing and/or incorporating industry feedback.

E–3 – Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity, et. al., Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation, et. al. (Docket Nos. EL14-12-015, EL15-45-014). On September 28, 2016, the Commission issued Opinion No. 551 determining that the existence of anomalous market conditions justified setting MISO's base ROE at the central tendency of the upper half of the zone of reasonableness. The Commission permitted consideration of alternative methodologies and the ROEs approved by state regulatory commissions for determining ROE, for purposes of deciding whether the MISO TOs' ROE should be set at a point above the midpoint of the DCF zone of reasonableness. On November 21, 2019, the Commission issued Opinion No. 569 applying a revised methodology for analyzing the base ROE, under section 206 of the FPA, that used the discounted cash flow (DCF) model and capital asset pricing model (CAPM), instead of only the DCF model, and established a range of presumptively just and reasonable ROEs based on the quartiles of the zone of reasonableness. Multiple parties requested rehearing of Opinion No. 569. On May 21, 2020, the Commission granted rehearing by issuing Opinion No. 569-A, in which it commits to: use the Risk Premium model under both prongs of the Commission's section 206 analysis; give the short-term growth rate 80% weighting and the long-term growth rate 20% weighting in the two-step DCF model; modify the high-end outlier test to treat any proxy company as a high-end outlier, if its cost of equity estimated under the model in question is more than 200% of the median result of all of the potential proxy group members in that model, subject to a "natural break" analysis; consider the use of Value Line short-term earnings growth estimates in the CAPM in future proceedings; and calculate the ranges of presumptively just and reasonable base ROEs by dividing the overall composite zone of reasonableness into equal thirds. Multiple parties requested rehearing of Opinion No. 569-A. On July 17, 2020, as amended September 18, 2020, multiple parties petitioned the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit for review Opinions No. 551, 569, and 569-A, pursuant to section 313 of the FPA and Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. Agenda item E-3 may be an order in response to the requests for rehearing and petition for review.

E-4 – Bulb US LLC, Bulb Energy US Inc. (Docket Nos. ER20-850-000, ER20-851-000). On January 17, 2020, Bulb US LLC and Bulb Energy US Inc. (collectively, Bulb US) filed, pursuant to section 205 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), an application for authorization to make market-based rate sales of energy, capacity and ancillary services under a market-based rate tariff. On March 16, 2020, Commission Staff issued a request for additional information regarding the upstream owners and affiliates of Bulb US. Agenda item E-4 may be an order addressing the application for market-based rate authority.

E-5 – California Independent System Operator Corporation (Docket No. ER20-2890-000). On September 16, 2020, the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO) filed, pursuant to section 205 of the Federal Power Act, a request that the Commission accept proposed revisions to its tariff. The first set of revisions purport to permit the CAISO greater flexibility to model the aggregate capabilities of separate resources co-located at a single generating facility as part of its day-ahead and real-time markets. The second set of revisions purport to ensure the CAISO can maintain visibility over intermittent resource production at hybrid resources that include a wind or solar generation component. Agenda item E-5 may be an order addressing the request for acceptance of proposed tariff revisions.

E-6 – Avista Corporation (Docket Nos. EL20-39-000, ER20-2347-000). On February 6, 2020, Avista Corporation (Avista) proposed revisions to its tariff to comply with the Commission's requirements under Orders No. 845 and 845-A and the Commission's directives under a compliance order. On May 21, 2020, the Commission issued an order finding that the filing partially complies with Orders No. 845 and 845-A, and its directives under a previous compliance order. The Commission also initiated a proceeding, pursuant to section 206 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), regarding the justness and reasonableness of the terms for provisional interconnection service under Avista's Large Generator Interconnection Procedures (LGIP). On July 8, 2020, Avista filed an Initial Brief, in response to the section 206 proceeding investigating its provisional interconnection service, and clarifying revisions to its LGIP. Agenda item E-6 may be an order addressing the proposed tariff revisions or the Initial Brief.

E-7 – Appalachian Power Company, PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (Docket No. ER20-841-001). On January 17, 2020, Appalachian Power Company (Appalachian Power), joined by PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM), submitted proposed revisions to the PJM Tariff in order to revise the local transmission planning process for regional transmission facilities. Further, the filing requested Commission approval to permit zonal cost allocation for projects that have regional benefits. A number of stakeholders and associated entities filed comments and protests during the intervening period, with a common refrain stating that the proposed tariff revisions would violate Commission requirements for open, transparent, and coordinated transmission planning, among other concerns. On March 17, 2020, the Commission issued an order approving the revisions as proposed by Appalachian Power and PJM. On April 16, 2020, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative, American Municipal Power, Inc., LSP Transmission Holdings, II, LLC and Central Transmission, LLC, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, Delaware Division of the Public Advocate, Office of the People's Counsel for the District of Columbia, New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel, Maryland Office of People's Counsel, Citizens Utility Board, Pennsylvania Office of Consumer Advocate, and the PJM Industrial Customer Coalition (collectively, Joint Parties) filed a request for rehearing of the March 17 order. In the request, Joint Parties assert that Appalachian and PJM deliberately subverted the transmission planning principles, as set forth in Order Nos. 890 and 1000, by planning regionally beneficial projects on a local basis. Further, Joint Parties allege that the tariff revisions would violate the established practice that costs of transmission facilities must be allocated to those entities that benefit from them. Separately, Joint Parties filed a Petition for Review of the March 17 order as well as the Commission's tolling order on the request for rehearing as issued on May 18, 2020, which implicitly grants the Commission more time to consider the request. The petition was brought to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (DC Circuit) under case number 20-1249. Joint Parties state that the petition was filed out of an abundance of caution, but if the DC Circuit finds that the Commission is compelled to act on the request for rehearing within the thirty day period, the deadline for action should be enforced per the statutory timeline. Agenda item E-7 may be an order on the request for rehearing as brought forward by Joint Parties.

E-8 – Lawrenceburg Power, LLC (Docket No. ER18-2497-002). On September 27, 2018, Lawrenceburg Power, LLC (Lawrenceburg Power) submitted proposed revisions to its Tariff in order to revise the annual revenue requirement (ARR) within its Reactive Supply and Voltage Control from Generation or Other Sources Service rate schedule under the PJM Tariff. Pursuant to the acquisition of a generating facility owned by AEP Generating Company (AEP), Lawrenceburg Power proposed to adopt, without modification, the existing ARR that AEP had on file with the Commission. Consequently, the matter was set for settlement judge procedures and an Offer of Settlement between the parties was reached on July 23, 2018. On November 29, 2018, the Commission issued an order accepting the revised rate schedule to be effective December 1, 2018, subject to refund, and set the filing for hearing and settlement judge procedures. Following the appointment of a settlement judge on December 4, 2018, the parties convened for settlement conferences and ultimately filed an Offer of Settlement on October 1, 2019. The settlement would reduce the Reactive Service ARR from $4,872,255 per year to $3,700,000 per year. All parties that participated in the six formal settlement conferences, and a technical conference, agreed to the Offer of Settlement, with the exception of Trial Staff. In their opposition, Trial Staff alleged that the settlement was "in name only" and should not be reported to the Commission. Accordingly, on January 30, 2020, the settlement judge rejected the Trial Staff's opposition and certified the Offer of Settlement for Commission approval. Agenda item E-8 may be an order on the Offer of Settlement as brought forward by Lawrenceburg Power.

E-9 – Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm, LLC (Docket No. ER19-229-001). On October 31, 2018, Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm, LLC (Allegheny Ridge) submitted a rate schedule for Reactive Supply and Voltage Control from Generation Sources Service in the PJM Tariff. The Commission issued an order approving the proposed rate schedule on December 26, 2018, and subsequently set the matter for hearing and settlement judge procedures to reconcile any refund. On January 2, 2019, the Commission appointed a settlement judge to oversee the proceedings. On February 25, 2019, Allegheny Ridge submitted an Offer of Settlement with the parties to this docket — FirstEnergy Service Company, American Municipal Power, Inc., and PJM — that the offer represented a significant rate reduction from $713,671 per year to $481,728 per year. Agenda item E-9 may be an order on the Offer of Settlement as brought forward by Allegheny Ridge.

E-10 – Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (Docket No. ER20-1901-000). On May 26, 2020, Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO) submitted a request for waiver of the eligibility requirements furnished in the MISO Tariff relating to compensation for Manual Redispatch. In the request, MISO stated that, without the waiver, Entergy Texas, Inc. (ETI) will not be fully compensated for costs it incurred in order to comply with a MISO directive that insufficiently accounted for ETI's generating resource's ramping capability. Agenda item E-10 may be an order on the Tariff waiver request as brought forward by MISO and supported by ETI.

E-11 – Trans Bay Cable LLC (Docket No. ER19-2846-002). On September 20, 2019, pursuant to section 205 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), Trans Bay Cable LLC (Trans Bay) filed revisions to its Transmission Owner Tariff (TO Tariff) to increase its annual Base Transmission Revenue Requirement (TRR) from $133,900,000 to $157,284,000, for service over Trans Bay's 400 MW submarine transmission line and associated facilities. Trans Bay requested an effective date of November 23, 2019 for such revisions. On November 21, 2019, the Commission issued an order accepting and suspending the proposed Tariff revisions and assigning the matter for hearing and settlement judge proceedings. Following multiple settlement hearings, on September 4, 2020, Trans Bay filed an Offer of Settlement and Stipulation Agreement in order to resolve all outstanding issues contemplated in this docket. On October 8, 2020, the settlement judge issued a notice of uncontested settlement and therefore recommended the Commission approve the proposed revision to Trans Bay's TRR. The judge stated that when the Settlement becomes effective, Trans Bay will refund to CAISO, for the period from the Refund Effective Date through the effective date of the Settlement, the difference between the rates collected pursuant to the Filed TRR of $157,284,000, and the rates calculated under the Settlement Base TRR including interest. Agenda item E-11 may be an order on the certified uncontested Offer of Settlement and Stipulation Agreement as brought forward by Trans Bay.

E-12 – Smoky Mountain Transmission LLC (Docket Nos. ER20-2435-000, TS20-6-000, ER19-2233-003). On July 15, 2020, Smoky Mountain Transmission LLC (SMT) filed a request for waivers of the Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), Open Access Same-Time Information System (OASIS), and Standards of Conduct requirements set forth in Order Nos. 888, 889, and 890 (collectively, OATT Waivers). SMT asserted that the waivers should be granted as it owns only limited and discrete transmission facilities solely utilized to connect generating facilities owned by its affiliate, Brookfield Smoky Mountain Hydropower LP. As a result, SMT does not believe it should be subject to the regulatory burden of such filings due to the limited and unaffiliated nature of its transmission activities. Agenda item E-12 may be an order on the request for OATT Waivers as brought forward by SMT.

E-13 – Pattern Energy Wind Development LLC (Docket No. ER21-30-000). On October 5, 2020, Pattern Energy Wind Development LLC (Pattern Energy Wind) submitted a request for one-time, limited waivers of the deadlines for demonstrating and reviewing site control under the Generator Interconnection Procedures of the MISO Tariff. Specifically, Pattern Energy Wind requested 53- and 30-day extension of respective deadlines prior to MISO commencing Phase I of the East Group Definitive Planning Phase. Pattern Energy Wind stated that, due to business interruptions and delays in the land acquisition process related to the COVID-19 pandemic, delaying these deadlines is prudent for ensuring site control of the projects. Agenda item E-13 may be an order addressing the waiver request brought forward by Pattern Energy Wind.

E-14 – Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (Docket No. ER18-2358-004), GridLiance High Plains LLC (Docket No. ER19-1357-003). On July 9, 2020, a Presiding Administrative Law Judge certified a question to the Commission in Docket Nos. ER18-2358-001 and ER19-1357-000 regarding Attachment AI of Southwest Power Pool, Inc.'s (SPP) Open Access Transmission Tariff (SPP Tariff). The question asked: "Does meeting the Attachment AI criteria in the SPP Tariff qualify facilities as "Transmission" for purposes of Commission jurisdiction and inclusion in the SPP Tariff and thereby eliminate any need to analyze the facilities under the Commission's seven-factor test?" On August 7, 2020, the Commission issued an order stating that the answer to the certified question is no (August 7 Order). On September 8, 2020, GridLiance High Plains LLC requested rehearing of the Commission's August 7 Order. On October 9, 2020, the Commission issued a Notice of Denial of Rehearing by Operation of Law (October 9 Notice) stating that the rehearing request filed in the proceeding will be addressed in a future order. Agenda item E-14 may be the future order referenced in the Commission's October 9 Notice.

E-15 – Louisiana Public Service Commission v. Entergy Corporation, Entergy Services, Inc., Entergy Louisiana, LLC, Entergy Arkansas, Inc., Entergy New Orleans, Inc., Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, L.L.C., and Entergy Texas, Inc.; Entergy Services, Inc. (Docket Nos. EL10-65-007, ER14-2085-003, ER11-3658-003, ER12-1920-003, ER13-1595-003 (Consolidated)). On April 16, 2020, the Commission issued an order granting, in part, and denying, in part, rehearing for a March 2018 order on initial decision generally related to the allocation of the production costs of electric power plants among the Entergy Operating Companies under the Entergy System Agreement (April Order). On May 18, 2020, Entergy Services, LLC and the Louisiana Public Service Commission requested rehearing of the April Order. Agenda item E-15 may be an order on the requests for rehearing of the April Order.

E-16 – Omitted

E-17 – Kansas Corporation Commission v. ITC Great Plains, LLC (Docket No. EL19-80-001). On June 11, 2019, pursuant to sections 206, 306 and 309 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) filed a complaint against ITC Great Plains, LLC (ITC Great Plains) asserting that ITC Great Plains' rates are unjust and unreasonable as a result of ITC Great Plains' use of an 100 basis point incentive adder to calculate its return on equity. On July 16, 2020, the Commission issued an order granting KCC's complaint and reducing ITC Great Plains' incentive adder to 25 basis points (July Order). On August 17, 2020, ITC Great Plains requested rehearing of the July Order. On September 17, 2020, the Commission issued a Notice of Denial of Rehearing by Operation of Law (September Notice) stating that the rehearing request filed in the proceeding will be addressed in a future order. Agenda item E-17 may be the future order referenced in the Commission's September Notice.

E-18 – Shell Energy North America (US), L.P. (Docket No. EL20-49-000). On May 29, 2020, Shell Energy North America (US), L.P. (SENA) filed a petition for declaratory order requesting that the Commission interpret the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (PJM) tariff provisions regarding bilateral transfers of financial transmission rights and to resolve an ongoing dispute involving GreenHat Energy, LLC currently pending in Texas state court. Agenda item E-18 may be an order on SENA's petition for declaratory order.

E-19 – The Dayton Power and Light Company (Docket No. ER20-1068-001), PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. and The Dayton Power and Light Company (Docket No. ER20-2100-001). On February 25, 2020, pursuant to sections 205 and 219 of the FPA, Dayton Power and Light Company (Dayton Power) submitted a request for approval of certain transmission rate incentives for investment in transmission projects that Dayton Power asserted are needed for reliability (Incentive Rate Application). On August 17, 2020, the Commission issued an order accepting the Incentive Rate Application in part and also rejecting the Incentive Rate Application in part, as further explained in the Commission's order (August 17 Order). On September 16, 2020, Dayton Power requested rehearing and clarification of the August 17 Order and PJM requested clarification of the August 17 Order. On October 19, 2020, the Commission issued a Notice of Denial of Rehearing by Operation of Law (October 19 Notice) stating that the rehearing request filed in the proceeding will be addressed in a future order. Agenda item E-19 may be the future order referenced in the Commission's October 19 Notice.

E-20 – ISO New England Inc. (Docket No. ER18-619-001). On January 8, 2018, pursuant to section 205 of the FPA, ISO New England Inc. (ISO-NE) submitted proposed revisions to its tariff to modify its Forward Capacity Market to better accommodate actions taken by New England states procuring resources outside of ISO-NE's wholesale markets. On March 9, 2018, the Commission issued an order accepting ISO-NE's proposed tariff revisions (March 2018 Order). In April 2018, numerous parties requested rehearing of the March 2018 Order. Agenda item E-20 may be an order on the requests for rehearing of the March 2018 Order.

 

Gas

G-1 – White Cliffs Pipeline, L.L.C. (Docket No. OR18-9-000). On December 22, 2017, White Cliffs Pipeline, L.L.C. (White Cliffs), pursuant to Part 348 of the Commission's regulations, filed an application for authorization to charge market-based rates for the transportation of crude oil on its pipeline system from Platteville, Colorado in the Niobrara shale formation region to Cushing, Oklahoma. On May 17, 2018, the Commission issued an order granting White Cliffs market-based rate authority in the destination market and setting for hearing whether White Cliffs has the ability to exercise market power in the challenged origin market. A hearing was held beginning March 19, 2019, by the presiding administrative law judge. On September 12, 2019, the presiding administrative law judge issued an initial decision. Agenda item G-1 may be an order on the initial decision.

 

Hydro

H-1 – Village of Morrisville, Vermont (Docket No. P-2629-014). On April 25, 2013, the Village of Morrisville, Vermont (Village) filed a relicensing application to continue to operate and maintain the Morrisville Hydroelectric Project (Project). Since that time, the Village and the Vermont Agency of Natural Resource (VTANR) have been litigating over the Project's water quality certification. On May 28, 2020, the Village filed a petition for declaratory order requesting the Commission issue an order finding that VTANR had waived its authority under section 401 of the Clean Water Act. Agenda item H-1 may be an order related to the petition for declaratory order and/or the Village's relicensing application. 

H-2 – Wisconsin Electric Power Company (Docket No. P-2486-087). On July 16, 2019, Wisconsin Electric Power Company (Wisconsin Electric) submitted an application for non-capacity related amendments of license terms for the Pine Electric Project (Pine Project). The Wisconsin Electric application seeks to extend the term of the Pine Project's license for the purpose of establishing a single expiration date of July 31, 2040 for all the hydropower projects in the upper Menominee River basin area. Several parties filed protests of Wisconsin Electric's application. On October 16, 2020, Wisconsin Electric submitted a letter to the Commission stating that Dispute Resolution Service efforts to resolve differences among the parties ended without agreement amongst the parties and requested the Commission issue an order prior to November 30, 2020. Agenda item H-2 may be an order relating to Wisconsin Electric's pending application for the Pine Project.

 

Certificates

C-1 – Limiting Authorizations to Proceed with Construction Activities Pending Rehearing (Docket No. RM20-15-001). On June 9, 2020, the Commission issued Order No. 871 in which it revised its regulations to preclude issuance of authorizations to proceed with construction activities with respect to Natural Gas Act (NGA) section 3 authorizations or section 7(c) certificate order until the Commission acts on the merits of any timely-filed request for rehearing or the time for filing such a request has passed. Several parties have filed requests for rehearing and/or clarification of Order No. 871, including The Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, Kinder Morgan, Inc., and TC Energy Corporation. Agenda item C-1 may be an order on the pending requests for rehearing and/or clarification of Order No. 871.

C-2 – Tuscarora Gas Transmission Company (Docket No. CP20-486-001). On July 7, 2020, the Commission issued public notice of Tuscarora Gas Transmission Company's (Tuscarora) application requesting authorization for the Tuscarora Xpress Project. The notice established July 28, 2020, as the deadline to file motions to intervene. On August 10, 2020, Southwest Gas Corporation (Southwest Gas) filed a late-filed motion to intervene. On August 27, 2020, the Commission issued an order denying late intervention, stating that Southwest Gas failed to demonstrate good cause to grant its motion to intervene out-of-time. On September 24, 2020, Southwest Gas filed a request for rehearing of the Commission's August 27 Order. Agenda item C-2 may be an order relating to Southwest Gas' request for rehearing.    

C-3 – Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC (Docket No. CP15-17-005). On April 22, 2020, the Commission issued a letter order granting Sabal Trail Transmission, LLC's (Sabal Trail) request to place the Sabal Trail Project Phase II facilities into service on or around April 30, 2020. On May 22, 2020, Sierra Club submitted a request for rehearing of the Commission's April 22 Order and motion for a stay requesting operation of the compressor stations be halted while the Commission conducts supplemental environmental review of the public health and environmental justice impacts of placing the facilities into service. On June 8, 2020, Sabal Trail submitted a motion for leave to answer and answer to Sierra Club's request for rehearing. Agenda item C-3 may be an order relating to Sierra Club's request for rehearing of the Commission's April 22 Order.

 

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