CFTP criticizes FERC decision not to rehear Order 1000

The Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy (CFTP) on May 17 expressed its displeasure with FERC’s decision to deny rehearing of Order 1000 on transmission planning and cost allocation (Docket No. RM10-23-001).

Despite the more than 60 requests for rehearing of Order 1000, FERC has apparently made few changes to its unprecedented regulatory effort to reset the rules for the nation’s electricity grid,” the coalition’s president and general counsel Sue Sheridan said in a statement.

In its order denying rehearing, FERC upheld the Order 1000 reforms, stating that, “existing requirements are inadequate and threaten to thwart the development of transmission that is more efficient or cost-effective for users of the grid.”

In the request for clarification or rehearing the CTPC filed in August 2011, the group said it generally agrees with FERC’s objectives to ensure “an open and transparent transmission planning process within regions, and continued coordination among regions, so that transmission planning can help to ensure that transmission is built that allows consumers to take advantage of the most cost-effective transmission alternatives.”

However, the group’s 31-page filing requested clarification on four points of Order 1000, and detailed four separate but related points of the order that it believed “should be revised, amplified and/or clarified so that the requirements of the [Federal Power Act] and the [Administrative Procedures Act] are satisfied and to better pursue the commission’s policy objectives,” the filing said.

FERC said its order denying rehearing provides a number of clarifications, including that each planning region must have a clear enrollment process that defines how entities, including non-public utility transmission providers, make the choice to become part of the region.

In addition, FERC said claims that a federal right of first refusal in a commission-approved agreement is protected by a Mobile-Sierra provision are properly made as part of an Order 1000 compliance filing.

FERC also noted that the transmission planning process is not intended to assess the merits of federal or state public policy requirements, but to help utilities comply with those requirements by considering new transmission facilities driven by such requirements.

“The coalition remains concerned that Order 1000 fails to adequately ensure that electricity consumers are protected from high rates that are unfair and unreasonable. For consumers, the benefits appear speculative, the burdens all too real,” Sheridan said.

The coalition said it is reviewing all of its options, including filing suit in the federal appeals court challenging Order 1000.