Washington, D.C., May 18, 2012 — Following is a statement from WIRES Counsel Jim Hoecker regarding the recent announcement that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has upheld its Order No. 1000 mandate to reform the nation’s electric transmission planning and cost allocation processes.
Order No. 1000 found that existing transmission planning and cost allocation requirements are inadequate and that, if not improved by transmission providers, developers, regulators and stakeholders, they will create barriers that further thwart the development of more efficient transmission facilities, access to clean energy resources mandated by state and federal law and competitive wholesale power markets.
“WIRES subscribes to the commission’s assessment that unresolved cost allocation issues and uncoordinated planning activities, even among organized markets, are barriers to rational expansion and upgrade of the grid. Today’s order is a reaffirmation of the principal conclusions arrived at last June. WIRES strongly supports those conclusions and applauds the additional certainty that FERC provides today.
“Nevertheless, today’s order leaves the compliance process guided only by the general principles of Order No. 890. While acknowledging the benefits of stakeholder processes and regional flexibility, WIRES argued for more specificity with respect to what procedures or substantive outcomes the commission will look for in compliance filings. Indeed, because FERC found some current planning and cost allocation regimes to be unjust and unreasonable, we believe the Federal Power Act commands FERC, not stakeholder processes, to fix them. In these respects, today’s order is half a loaf.”
The order denies rehearing of the July 2011 final rule establishing minimum criteria that a transmission planning process must satisfy, including general principles for cost allocation methods. WIRES (Working group for Investment in Reliable and Economic electric Systems) is a non-profit trade association of investor-, publicly-, and cooperatively owned transmission providers, transmission customers, regional grid managers, and equipment and service companies.