Electricity Transmission Issues on the Hotseat, Upcoming Event 7/28

Electricity Transmission, an issue that has been brewing for quite a while, has come to the forefront this summer. 

 It is widely expected that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will make a much anticipated  Proposed Rulemaking on Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation by Transmission Owning and Operating Public Utilities. 

Recently,  Senator Wyden (D-OR) and Bob Corker (R-TN) introduced legislation (S.400) to deal with the electric transmission issue and has been referred to the Energy and Commerce Committee for discussion. The bill seeks to amend the Federal Power Act by prohibiting FERC from finding any electricity rate "just and reasonable" unless the cost allocation among consumers is "reasonably proportionate to measureable economic or reliability benefits."  In a recent letter to Senator Bingaman, Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee  Senator Corker stated that FERC’s "proposed rule so broadly defines benefits that the principles by which electric transmission costs have traditionally been allocated may be nullified,"

Not surprisingly, there is huge opposition to this legislation but strong support  for FERC’s proposed rule.  A July 14, letter signed by a coalition of over 80 electrici utilities, environmental groups, manufacturing and transmission groups, renewable energy developers, and other groups was sent to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressing concerns S.400.  This letter states that S. 400 adopts an unreasonable benefit standard that will thwart the construction of transmission needed to reliably deliver new sources of generation and foster competition and goes on to say that the anticipated FERC Rulemaking is a better solution.  The letter states that the proposed FEREC ruling requires that only those who benefit from new electric transmission facilities pay for those facilities and that the amount paid should be “roughly commensurate with the benefits received”.  The net out being that no one who does not benefit from new transmission will have to pay the cost of that transmission.  This would thereby render S.400 unnecessary.

Please join us for a lively and compelling discussion of  just exactly how to build and allocate cost for new transmission lines, especially as they relate to the delivery of renewable energies.   NDN/New Policy Institute will host a panel discussion “Transmission Policy Reform: What does this mean for Renewables?” scheduled for Thursday, July 28, at 12noon at NDN which is located at 729 15th Street on the first floor. 

As a caveat, it is the nature of FERC to not disclose specific information in advance of their Rulemaking,  so it is quite possible that this Rulemaking could occur on another date.  In that case, we will postpone our panel discussion accordingly and notify you of the change, but for now, please mark your calendars.

And please RSVP here!