Chip Cannon Quoted on Appeals Court Ruling in FERC Order No. 1000 Case
Akin Gump energy regulation, markets and enforcement partner Chip Cannon is quoted in the Law360 story “FERC Gains Upper Hand In Regional Power Planning Fights,” which addresses a decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upholding the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)’s controversial regional transmission planning rule, known as FERC Order No. 1000.
FERC Order No. 1000 is meant to spark new transmission investment by requiring utilities to create regional plans and a framework for cost allocation, which is how project expenses are recouped. Several utility industry groups and state regulators had challenged FERC’s authority under the Federal Power Act to enact almost every aspect of the order, but Cannon said the court’s decision puts “the industry on notice that it feels FERC’s jurisdiction with respect to regional planning and cost allocation is pretty deep. They didn’t even suggest that FERC came close to the borders of its jurisdiction.”
Based on the court ruling, Cannon predicts there will be appeals of FERC rulings on the cost allocation portions of transmission plans, saying, “the dollars are too big and a lot of parties feel that the roughly commensurate policy of cost allocation is at odds with the commission’s historic practice of allocating costs to the people who use the transmission lines.” As for those anticipated appeals, Cannon says the premise of the decision appears to be “the court is going to defer to the commission’s reasoned decision-making.” He adds it will be “interesting to see how far FERC pushes things before a court pushes back.”
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