FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments

On July 16, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a policy statement providing guidance on the development of smart grid technology for the electric transmission system and adopting an interim rate policy to encourage investment in smart grid technology. According to FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, the new policy statement will “inform and accelerate the smart grid standards development process” while also “providing cost recovery assurances to early moving utilities that invest in smart grid technologies that meet specified criteria.”  Read more…

On June 18, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued orders addressing two separate petitions for declaratory order submitted By NorthWestern Corporation d/b/a NorthWestern Energy (NorthWestern). In the first petition, NorthWestern, a public utility, and its affiliate Mountain States Transmission Intertie, LLC (MSTI), requested certain approvals in connection with the MSTI transmission project, which consists of a proposed 500 kV transmission line running from a substation near Townsend, Montana, on NorthWestern’s transmission system, to an interconnection with Idaho Power Company. MSTI and NorthWestern also requested that FERC authorize MSTI to charge negotiated prices for transmission rights over the MSTI project.  Read more…

On May 21, 2009, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a participant funding arrangement for a proposed international transmission project that would connect the Hydro-Quebec TransEnergie (Hydro-Quebec) transmission system with the ISO New England transmission system. The project is designed to allow the importation of hydropower from Canada into the United States for the purpose of serving customers in the New England region.

Northeast Utilities Service Company (Northeast), NSTAR Electric Company (NSTAR), and Hydro-Quebec are presently collaborating on the design and construction of a 1,200-megawatt transmission line that would connect Hydro-Quebec to ISO New England’s 345 kV transmission system. As proposed, Hydro-Quebec will fund construction of the project and will assume responsibility for the project’s risks. In return for its commitment, Hydro-Quebec will receive 1,200 megawatts of capacity on the completed transmission line for the transmission of hydropower into the United States. Under such a proposal, the costs of the project will not be recovered through the rates for transmission service under the ISO New England’s tariff.  Read more…