FERC to Hold Workshop on Transmission Line Capacity Allocation Policies

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff will hold a workshop on Tuesday, February 28, 2012, to obtain public input on potential reforms to the FERC’s policies governing capacity allocation on new merchant transmission lines and new cost-based, participant-funded transmission lines. The workshop, which will be in “facilitated discussion” format (i.e., no panelists, presentations, transcript or webcast), is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at FERC’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.  Written post-workshop comments will be due by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 29, 2012.

The detailed agenda attached to the FERC’s notice states that FERC staff is examining, in the wake of several controversial capacity allocation decisions issued since 2009, various potential policy reforms that the FERC might wish to consider that seek to balance open access principles with the needs of transmission developers for certainty and financial security. In particular, FERC staff plans to explore the merits of potential reforms to the FERC’s policies regarding—

  • negotiated rate authority for merchant transmission projects, including whether to reinstate the FERC’s pre-2009 requirement for capacity allocation by “open season” while simultaneously allowing for distinctions among prospective customers in the open season based on transparent and not unduly discriminatory criteria, with the possible result that a single customer—or an “anchor customer”—might be awarded all of a new line’s capacity
  • proposals for the development of participant-funded transmission projects at cost-based rates (i.e., where the developer seeks to construct facilities for specific customers in exchange for recovering the cost of those facilities from those customers), since staff expects that future proposals of that type likely will elicit open access concerns, given that the FERC’s current approach does not require an open season or the use of pro forma Open Access Transmission Tariff-based transmission service request procedures.

FERC staff’s agenda, which is available here (attached to the notice), poses a number of questions in those two areas. Since the workshop will not be transcribed or webcast, the FERC encourages interested parties to attend in person (advance registration is not required) or, if necessary, request “listen-only” dial-in information via e-mail by 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 23, 2012.  Instructions for such requests are set forth in the notice.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this alert, please contact—

G. Philip Nowak
Washington, D.C.
Scott D. Johnson
Washington, D.C.