Tucson responds to criticism from Springerville Unit 1 owners

Tucson Electric Power on Dec. 18 told the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that Alterna Springerville LLC and LDVF1 TEP LLC, which are financial entities that own part of a unit at the Springerville coal plant, have no cause for protest related to a pending power line deal.

Those two entities, at the end of December, will acquire direct control of their owned portion of Springerville Unit 1 because a Tucson lease for that capacity will expire. They accuse Tucson of not giving them a viable transmission path for this power once they have control of it.

“The present Protest is the latest salvo in Protestors’ ongoing efforts to derail a simple and legitimate commercial transaction pursuant to which Tucson Electric seeks to sell to Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District (‘SRP’) certain undivided interests in the 345 kV Springerville-Coronado transmission line (‘Springerville-Coronado Line’) and acquire from SRP certain undivided interests in associated upgrades installed by SRP (collectively, the ‘Transaction’),” wrote Tucson. “Protestors have no interest in ownership in the Springerville-Coronado Line nor in taking service over it. Rather, they seek to wheel energy from Springerville Generating Station (‘Springerville’) Unit 1 (‘SGS1’) to Palo Verde over wholly separate lines.

“Protestors suffer from a mistaken and already-disproven belief that either SRP’s use or partial ownership of the Springerville-Coronado Line somehow undermines their efforts to obtain transmission rights to wheel energy from SGS1 to Palo Verde. With the present filing, the third by Protestors in the past month against Tucson Electric, Protestors resort to previously refuted speculation as well as lowball tactics of essentially accusing a Tucson Electric director of providing untruthful testimony in a sworn affidavit. All of Protestors’ objections here are unfounded and the Protest should be rejected in its entirety.”

Tucson later added: “Against all logic, the Protest alleges that the Transaction, pursuant to which Tucson Electric seeks to sell to SRP a 57.44 percent interest in the Springerville-Coronado Line and acquire from SRP a 42.56 percent interest in certain upgrades to the line, will adversely affect competition.”

Springerville Unit 1 is a 424.8 MW (nameplate) coal-fired facility located near Springerville, Arizona, in the Tucson Electric Power balancing authority area.

Said Alterna and LDVF1 TEP in their Dec. 3 complaint in this matter: “Intervenors submit that this transaction may have an adverse effect on competition and on regulation and thus would not be in the public interest. Action on the Section 203 Application on an expedited basis, as TEP has requested, may also adversely constrain the Commission’s discretion to implement a remedy, if one is determined to be needed, in response to Intervenors’ recently filed FPA Section 206 complaint concerning transmission rights on this same portion of TEP’s transmission system. Any Commission approval of the transaction should occur only after the Commission rules on this complaint or, alternatively, be subject to appropriate conditions to mitigate such adverse effects on competition and regulation and to preserve the Commission’s discretion in this pending complaint proceeding.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.