PJM Interconnection on March 12 filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission changes in its rules that respond to the commission’s initiative to encourage better coordination between power transmission and natural gas pipeline operators.
With the nation’s electric grid increasingly reliant on historically volatile supplies of and prices for natural gas, particularly during the winter home heating season, FERC has been working for the past couple of years to make sure gas is there when needed for power generation. Enhanced gas-electric coordination is part of that plan.
PJM on March 12 submitted for filing revised sheets of the Amended and Restated Operating Agreement of PJM. The changes amend PJM’s confidentiality rules to allow PJM to share non-public, operational information with natural gas pipeline operators, consistent with the commission’s regulations adopted in Order No. 787. PJM wants a waiver of prior notice requirements and for these changes to declared effective as of March 13.
“On November 15, 2013, the Commission issued a final rule in Order No. 787 adopting regulations to provide explicit authority to interstate natural gas pipeline operators and public utilities that own, operate or control facilities used for the transmission electric energy in interstate commerce to share non-public, operational information with each other to promote reliable service or operational planning on either system,” PJM noted. “In doing so, the Commission recognized that permitting transmission operators to share information with each other they deem necessary reflects sound policy as it will promote the reliability and integrity of their respective systems.
Nevertheless, while the Commission explicitly authorized, through the adoption of new regulations, sharing of such operational information, it declined to supersede any existing tariff provisions that any transmission providers may have to the contrary which limited the sharing of such information, thereby requiring transmission providers to make filings under Section 205 of the Federal Power Act to revise their tariffs to allow the exchange of information permitted by the final regulations,” PJM added.
After the issuance of Order No. 787, but before PJM could initiate its stakeholder process, in early January PJM sought, and received, commission approval through the filing of two companion waivers to temporarily suspend the data sharing prohibitions so as to permit PJM to utilize, during the extreme weather conditions present at that time, and through the winter heating months, the additional communication tools provided for in Order No. 787.
“Since the approval of the Waiver Requests, PJM has broadly utilized the enhanced communications provisions to share operational information with gas pipeline operators, including generator specific reviews, which have helped to ensure transmission system reliability, especially in light of the extreme weather conditions that have beset the PJM Region in January and February,” PJM noted. “Generally, this enhanced exchange of information has been viewed positively by affected natural gas transmission system operators and PJM. In the interim, PJM, with the collaboration of its stakeholders, developed the broader, permanent changes to PJM’s confidentiality rules which are offered for filing here.”