State regulators to consider resolution seeking modification of Order 1000

State regulators who will meet at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) 2013 Summer Committee Meetings in Denver later this month will consider a slate of resolutions, including one that calls on FERC to revise the cost allocation principles of Order 1000 to recognize the role of states in siting transmission.

The draft resolution, sponsored by NARUC’s Committee on Electricity and Commissioner Greg White of the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC), says that Order 1000 “exceeds FERC’s jurisdiction, and inappropriately infringes on state authority reserved by Congress” in areas including integrated resource plans, generation and transmission decisions, and determinations over cost recovery, including cost allocation, among other things.

The draft resolution also calls attention to FERC declaratory orders that override state interests, and urges FERC “to properly recognize the crucial role of the states, and to revise the cost allocation principles of Order No. 1000, which in practice, demonstrate a pronounced inconsistency with traditional ratemaking principles that assign costs only to the cost-causers.”

The resolution is one of 15 draft resolutions covering gas, telecommunications, water, consumer affairs, utility marketplace access, and critical infrastructure in addition to electricity. The drafts were provided to the regulators and the media in advance of the meetings, which run from July 21 through 24.

Other draft resolutions from the Committee on Electricity include a resolution regarding the enforcement of PURPA standards and regulations. The synopsis of that resolution says the measure calls attention to “FERC declaratory orders that override state interests and advises FERC to consider, [among other things], state action before suing on behalf of an industry stakeholder.”

A third draft resolution from the Committee on Electricity opposes a portion of President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget that would levy $2.4bn for cleanup of the Department of Energy (DOE) facilities used for nuclear weapons/defense programs, over and above funds already collected in prior years. The draft resolution says “U.S. nuclear electric utilities and their customers should not be singled out yet again to pay for [decommissioning and decontamination] of DOE facilities developed for nuclear weapons and national defense programs,” though it makes clear that the committee supports cleaning up, decommissioning and decontaminating such sites.

A resolution drafted by the Committee on Critical Infrastructure encourages “state collaboration with entities that have cyber-threat management and mitigation expertise.” Commissioner Terry Jarrett of the Missouri PSC and Commissioner Carolene Mays on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission co-sponsored the resolution.

Other resolutions to be considered deal with a range of topics, including educating customers about portable generator safety, encouraging investment in natural gas lines, and encouraging federal regulatory agencies to do more to protect consumers from unfair market practices. In addition to the three resolutions on electricity and one on critical infrastructure, five resolutions focus on telecommunications, three on water, one on consumer affairs, one on natural gas, and one on utility marketplace access.

In providing the drafts, NARUC officials emphasized that any of the draft resolutions can be substantially modified before or during the course of the sponsoring committee’s consideration of each draft, and could also ultimately be rejected.