PUCT affirms public interest finding on Entergy Texas transfer to MISO

Despite ongoing resistance from the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) is standing by its proposal this month to approve an application by Entergy Texas to join the Midwest ISO (MISO).

SPP on Oct. 11 filed its response to exceptions submitted by Entergy Texas to the PUCT’s proposed decision that the transfer is in the public interest.

Cathleen Parsley, chief administrative law judge for the Texas State Office of Administrative Hearings, issued the proposal for decision (PFD) on Oct. 1, saying that approval of the application should be conditioned on the terms of an Aug. 8 amended stipulation and settlement agreement. The SPP is the only party to the proceedings that opposed the amended agreement.

SPP’s latest response to the PUCT addresses Entergy’s concern that the amendment agreement could be interpreted to say that the commission is able to reconsider its findings on the transfer under altered circumstances.

In its response, SPP argued that, if the commission is ambiguous about its decision, it should deny the application rather than argue over “a dubious claim of authority to reconsider its decision.”

While SPP acknowledged that the amended agreement states that the PUCT may take further action, including determining whether new circumstances justify reconsideration of a public interest finding,” SPP said “the standards that would be applied in any such reconsideration are uncertain.”

In its own filing of exceptions to the proposal for decision on Oct. 8, SPP said the PUCT has the authority to re-examine a past decision in limited circumstances, and that review can only be initiated by an electricity utility or transmission and distribution utility seeking a change in ownership.

A PUCT staff reply to exceptions disagreed with SPP’s considerations and maintained support for the adoption of the PFD. The PUCT “may vacate or modify an order by the [judges if they] did not follow applicable law or precedent, issued a finding of fact that was not supported by a preponderance of the evidence, or relied on policy or precedent that should be changed,” PUCT staff said in the Oct. 11 response.