SPP: Entergy Texas application to join MISO ‘premature’

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) said Entergy Texas’s (ETI) application to join the Midwest ISO (MISO) is premature, should be found “not in the public interest,” and should be expressly denied before it is approved by operation of law on Oct. 28 (PUC Docket No. 40346; SOAH Docket No. 473-12-6206).

In an Aug. 31 brief on the matter filed concurrently with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) and the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH), SPP said “the ‘facts’ upon which the [original] application and the amended stipulation and settlement agreement [are based] are too indefinite and speculative” for the PUCT to approve either document.

The amended non-unanimous stipulation (NUS), which was the result of negotiations between ETI and other parties to the proceeding, “adds to the uncertainty and speculation contained in ETI’s original application,” SPP said.

SPP was not a party to the negotiations that resulted in the amended NUS.

In its brief, SPP asked that the PUCT explicitly deny ETI’s original application, which was filed on April 30.

By law, the commission has 180 days to act on the application or it is deemed approved by operation of law on the 181st day. “Therefore, unless the commission issues a final order denying ETI’s application by Oct. 27, the original application is approved effective Oct. 28,” SPP said in its filing. 

SPP calls the provisions contained in the amended NUS “speculative.”

“In place of such well-developed facts, the amended NUS asks the commission to substitute ‘conditions,’ with the hope that the commission can re-examine its decision in the future if the actual facts do not match the speculations upon which the application and the amended NUS are based,” SPP said in its brief.

However, the grid operator asserted that the state Public Utility Regulatory Act (PURA) does not grant the commission general authority to re-examine past decisions.

“While PURA has been amended since 1990, it has not been changed to grant the commission a general authority to re-examine its past adjudicative determinations,” SPP said. That means the PUCT would not be able to re-examine its decision at a later date on its own initiative if circumstances do not develop as anticipated in the amended NUS.

Because approving either the application or the amended NUS would be problematic, SPP says the PUCT “should find that approval of ETI’s application and the amended NUS are not in the public interest and reaffirm its prior decision in Docket No. 28818 (July 9, 2004) that ETI ‘should consider joining the Southwest Power Pool RTO,’” SPP said.

In its filing, SPP discussed 12 points related to the amended NUS and preliminary order issues.

SPP concluded the transfer would not be in the public interest as the analyses presented by ETI have overstated the benefits of joining MISO and overstated the costs of joining SPP. Accordingly, the grid operator said, SPP is the better alternative.

SPP asserted that ETI did not study the transmission constraints associated with a single point of connection between the ETI and MISO systems, overstated the value of MISO’s Day 2 market, and did not consider negative impacts the move would have on other Texas customers.

SPP further said the ruling by the Arkansas Public Service Commission, that EAI’s joining MISO was not in the public interest, changes the analysis about costs and benefits of joining the midwest grid operator.

“ETI’s testimony only addresses the reliability, availability, and cost of service impacts based upon all Entergy OpCos moving to MISO,” SPP said in its brief.

SPP also said the proposed changes to the structure of the Organization of MISO states, the RTO’s regional-state committee, would not give Texas retail regulators authority.

“Under the current facts, ETI joining MISO is not in the public interest. There are too many uncertainties at this time and the Commission cannot issue a conditional order based on such unspecified terms,” SPP concludes.