ITC VP: Cost allocation and transmission planning should be separate

Determining beneficiaries through a cost allocation methodology should be a separate process from transmission planning, Brian Slocum, vice president of engineering for ITC Holdings (NYSE:ITC), said at the EEI Transmission, Distribution & Metering conference Oct. 10. 

The industry should look at projects on a regional or interconnection-wide basis, rather than on a granular level, he said in response to a question regarding FERC Order 1000 and how beneficiaries should be determined. 

Determining who pays for a project should not stop the industry from building the projects that need to be built, he said. 

“Look at a project; is this one that needs to be built?” Slocum said. “If it does, we need to be looking at getting that project built. Let someone else divide up all of the different pieces of the pie as far as cost allocation is concerned.” 

He also said that from a federal perspective, transmission policy seems to be moving more to a “Texas model,” or at least to some portions of a Texas model with respect to competitive bidding and removing rights of first refusal. 

An area of opportunity for ITC is partnering with smaller entities, like rural electric cooperatives and municipal electric utilities that aren’t interested in or don’t have the capacity for building long-haul transmission lines. Such a partnership also benefits ITC for the local presence and influence that partner may bring, he said.

More projects are being floated and more companies are forming partnerships around transmission today, he said. 

“I think we’re finally starting to see some movement with respect to getting a lot of strong players and good weight behind some of these projects that definitely do need to be built, which is encouraging,” he said. He added that classically integrated vertical utilities moving into the space reassures ITC that it is “doing the right thing in the right space.” 

ITC is an independent transmission company based in Novi, Mich. The company owns, operates and maintains about 15,000 miles of transmission lines in six states. 

About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.