FERC denies request for rehearing of Order 773-A

FERC on Aug. 30 denied a request for clarification or rehearing of Order 773-A, FERC’s clarification of Order 773, which approved NERC’s revised definition of the bulk electric system (BES).

The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) and the American Public Power Association (APPA) on May 17 asked for clarification of the revised information collection estimate under the Paperwork Reduction Act and FERC’s Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) certification. The organizations said that, with respect to the economic impact on small entities, FERC did not provide enough information on the information collection burden analysis required by the Office of Management and Budget and the RFA analysis and certification (FERC Docket Nos. RM12-6-002 and RM12-7-002).

According to their request for clarification, FERC made five changes to Order 773 in Order 773-A: FERC added up to five engineering hours of time for system review and list creation to address each applicable registered entity’s obligation to assess looped configuration issues; increased the number of exception requests by 10% (from 260 to 285) based on the specific category of looped configurations operating below 100-kV; removed all burden associated with “regional and ERO handling of exception requests” from the analysis, previously determined in Order 773 to burden NERC and each of the eight electric reliability organizations (EROs) with 1386.67 hours; eliminated all burden associated with “implementation plans and compliance,” previously determined in Order 773 to burden 111 Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC) region registered entities and 75 registered entities from other regions with 700 hours of compliance burden in years 1 and 2, and 350 hours per year thereafter; and added a new category called “local distribution determinations” and indicated that eight entities per year would submit jurisdictional determination requests to the commission, each requiring 60 engineer hours, eight recordkeeping hours and 24 legal hours of support.

“While NRECA-APPA assert that the RFA certification was flawed because it did not identify which entities are subject to the revised definition of bulk electric system or the rationale for identifying the total number of small entities affected, the commission is not required to provide an RFA certification at such a level of detail,” FERC said in the order. “Indeed, such a requirement is not imposed even under a RFA analysis, which is required when an agency does not certify that an action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. … We find that the record supports our information collection estimate and the RFA certification that the revised definition will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. Accordingly, we deny NRECA-APPA’s request for clarification or, in the alternative, rehearing[.]”

FERC approved NERC’s revised definition of the BES on Dec. 20, 2012.  The commission on Feb. 19 granted several rehearing requests on certain aspects of Order 773, and issued the clarification, Order 773-A, on April 18, 2013.  

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.