FERC has exceeded its jurisdiction in asking for a “top-down” transmission planning process and requiring the states in the Southeastern Regional Transmission Planning (SERTP) region to conduct a regional analysis, and has contradicted its assurances of regional flexibility, the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) said.
The Florida PSC on Aug. 15 filed a request for rehearing of FERC’s July 18 decision on the commission’s Order 1000 compliance proposal (ER13-908).
In the decision, FERC required that the SERTP, of which Florida is a member, file a revised cost allocation methodology and alter its transmission planning processes.
“The Florida commission continues to be concerned that the FERC appears to seek an approach to transmission planning and cost allocation which would infringe upon state authority, would impose additional costs on Florida consumers without corresponding benefits, and would establish a duplicative transmission planning structure,” the PSC said in the request for rehearing.
As Florida is not very interconnected with the other states in the SERTP, the PSC said it was concerned that its customers would be asked to pay for projects from which they would receive little benefit. Other states in the SERTP include Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia.
Concerning transmission planning, FERC’s July 18 decision contradicts some statements in Order 1000, the PSC said. The decision requires the SERTP region to come up with a single transmission plan, which reflects a “top-down” rather than a “bottom-up” process, which Order 1000 expressly allows, the PSC said.
Such a requirement also interferes with states’ rights over transmission planning and appears to try to move the SERTP region toward an RTO-type structure, the PSC said. Florida, which uses a 10-year site plan process that sets out a bottom-up approach for each utility to plan transmission, is not a member of an RTO.
“FERC’s challenge to Florida’s statutory-based transmission planning construct raises the specter of an RTO-like framework in order to meet FERC’s expectation,” the PSC said. “The duplicative federal process appears inefficient. This inefficiency itself appears contrary to Florida law that requires the efficient operation of the Florida energy grid.” FERC’s July 18 decision also creates an obligation on the part of transmission providers to develop projects “beyond those proffered by qualified transmission providers,” despite the fact that Order 1000 does not contain such a mandate, the PSC said. To comply, the SERTP states would have to conduct a regional analysis themselves to identify whether there are more efficient or cost-effective transmission needs. “[Order] No. 1000 only established a mandate for regions to evaluate proposals that may either be superior to existing plans, or may provide economic or public-policy benefits beyond existing plans,” the PSC said.
Requests for rehearing of FERC’s orders on Order 1000 compliance proposals are due Aug. 19.