Groups Urge Inclusion of Cost Containment in FERC Tx Planning Rule

A coalition of transmission, utility and consumer advocates on March 6 recommended that FERC incorporate cost management protocols into its final rule on transmission planning and cost allocation (RM21-17).

The group — which includes the Electricity Consumers Resource Council (ELCON), the Large Public Power Council (LPPC), Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG), the Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA) and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates — hosted a webinar to endorse a proposal requiring that transmission providers incorporate cost-benefit reporting mechanisms throughout their projects’ lifecycles.

It urged FERC to mandate that providers periodically file cost allocation reports tracking anticipated project costs against initial projections. Under the proposal, if a provider’s publicly filed report reveals that a project’s costs have either exceeded a predefined threshold percentage of its original projected cost or fallen below an approved benefit-cost ratio, a process administered by an RTO or ISO would be initiated to reconsider the project’s cost allocation to prevent consumers from bearing undue financial burdens.

“Instilling greater transparency and cost discipline in transmission development protects consumers from undue costs and provides assurances that consumers will benefit throughout the life of the project,” ELCON CEO Karen Onaran said in a press release.

John Di Stasio, president of LPPC, said the proposed provisions would ensure that transmission projects approved through the regional planning processes undergo “a cost-benefit analysis not just at the outset, but [also] throughout the life of construction, because at the end of the day, consumers are the ones who bear the cost of new infrastructure, and we want to make sure there is oversight on their behalf.”

The group proposes that FERC’s final rule establish a reconsideration threshold at 25% or more above the projected cost allocation. This reconsideration process would allow project sponsors to justify their cost deviations and present mitigation plans, until construction.

“This rule would require planners to take a long-term look at the changing circumstances and plan for all economic or reliability benefits and adopt some sort of backstop or dispute resolution for cost allocation,” said Christina Hayes, executive director for ACEG.

“We’re no longer just talking about an energy transition, but we’re talking about a grid expansion,” said Bryn Baker, senior director of CEBA. “And this grid expansion means that we cannot just be talking about adding new generation, but we have to talk about moving the cheapest available electrons to where they’re needed.”

The commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking last year to change how transmission planning and cost allocation processes are conducted to help build out the grid in the long term. The docket has received a barrage of comments, reports and appeals from industry groups, politicians and transmission stakeholders urging that FERC’s final rule should allow for regional flexibility; not hinder ongoing innovation; consider factors related to competition, consumers and transparency; and be issued by year-end, among other recommendations. (See FERC Gets Dueling Competition Studies in Transmission NOPR Docket.)

“Striking a balance between advancing clean energy goals and protecting consumers from unforeseen costs is essential as FERC considers large-scale regional transmission planning,” Di Stasio said.

During the webinar a reporter asked how the group arrived at the 25% reconsideration threshold and if it could unreasonably slow down project approvals.

Di Stasio replied that the group has discussed with FERC how “these protocols could create a barrier” but added that “if it’s clear at the outset and there’s ongoing monitoring and recording, it still gives an opportunity for projects to continue” and “[the threshold] shouldn’t necessarily slow anything down and, in fact, gives us greater confidence in whatever gets approved.”

Hayes added that “this proposal makes sure that we’re very clear-eyed about the costs and benefits as we go through planning and makes sure that, should things go awry, there’s a check in that process.”

The 25% figure is “not necessarily a line drawn hard in the sand,” Baker concluded. “But the point of the entire exercise is to say if costs have increased that much, let’s just have a quick check.”

Read the article on RTO Insider

Public Power Leaders Attend LPPC’s Inaugural Members Conference
Broad coalition floats cost containment proposal as FERC eyes final grid rule
Groups Urge Inclusion of Cost Containment in FERC Tx Planning Rule
Energy Groups Press Regulators to Scrutinize Power Grid Costs
LPPC and Advocacy Groups Advance Transmission Planning Cost Management Proposal at FERC
LPPC Discusses Electrification at USEA's 2024 State of the Energy Industry Forum
PUF Covers LPPC Grid Reliability Event with Sen. Kevin Cramer
LPPC Hosts a Discussion on Reliability with Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
Where Community Matters Most
LPPC Announces Tom Falcone, CEO of LIPA, and Jackie Flowers, Director of Utilities at Tacoma Public Utilities, as New Chair and Vice Chair
Commentary: Look no further than Long Island for a case for public power
Navigating the Path to a Sustainable and Reliable Power Supply
Clearing the Path for Permitting Reform
Leading on Clean Energy Expansion
Fitch Says Deleveraging Era Over For Public Power Utilities
LPPC Welcomes Nashville Electric Service as Newest Member
IRS guidance on renewable tax credit transferability, direct-pay provisions of IRA, garners mixed reviews
Treasury Proposes Rules on Monetizing Energy Tax Credits
Domestic Content Rules for Direct Pay Continue to Lack Clarity and Certainty
President’s Post: Permitting Reform & Protecting Direct Pay Priorities as LPPC CEOs Meet with Members of Congress
US Releases Made-in-America Rules for Clean Energy Credits
LPPC Calls for Certainty and Clarity on Domestic Content Requirements
Can Utilities Rise To The Challenges Presented By Decarbonization?
Panel Debates Impact of Renewables, Electrification on Reliability
To Electrify America, Advance Permitting Reform
LPPC Discusses Pathways to Decarbonization at USEA’s 2023 State of the Energy Industry Forum
LPPC Discusses Clean Energy Tax Credits and Decarbonization with Bloomberg Government
LPPC Provides Comments to Treasury on Clean Energy Tax Credits
President's Post: Public Power CEOs and Federal Policymakers Convene at LPPC's Post-Election Forum
LPPC CEOs Present at the Public Power Community Forum
LPPC at National Clean Energy Week
LPPC Chair and Austin Energy General Manager, Jackie Sargent, Discusses Carbon-Free Goals and More on Grid Talk
U.S. public power sector tackles emerging ESG challenges, inflation
Chair’s Post: Embracing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to Secure our Energy Future
LPPC Submits Comments to FERC on Transmission Planning
LPPC Leads Cross-Industry Push for E-Mobility
LPPC Members Fly In to Advocate for Public Power Communities
A Preview of Energy Transition Hopes and Hurdles for 2022
API Taps New Chief Lobbyist
LPPC Signs Joint Letter on Sequestration and Direct Subsidy Bonds
Joint Public Finance Network Letter to Congress In Support of Legislation In Response to COVID-19
Letter to Congress Regarding Near-Term for Customers and Communities in Response to COVID-19
LPPC Federal Reserve Municipal Liquidity Facility Letter
Joint Trades Community Owned Utility Direct Pay Letter
Letter to Treasury of Private Use
Letter to Treasury on Priority Guidance
GridWise Alliance and Grid Infrastructure Advisory Council Letter
Tulsa World: Utility Workers—A New, Unsung Hero Emerges During Times of Crisis
S&P Global: Municipal Utilities Call For Return Of Financial Tools To Get Through Pandemic
Morning Consult: Hidden Heroes Keeping The Lights On
Utility Dive: The (Energy) Efficient Road to Small Business Recovery
S&P Global: Public Power Utilities Say They Have 'Weathered' COVID-19 Storm; S&P Adds, 'So Far'
The Bond Buyer: Power Utilities Still Plan Capital Improvements
Morning Consult: Utilities Coalition Letter Rallies Congress to Include Support for Public Power in Coronavirus Stimulus
Morning Consult: Worldwide Denial-of-Service Cyberattacks on Utilities Up Five-Fold This Summer, Data Shows
Utility Dive: Public Power Leaders See Lasting Effects from 2020 Disruptions with New Approaches to Resilience, Equity
Public Utilities Fortnightly: Saluting the Workforce at Large Public Power Council; Conversation with LPPC president John Di Stasio
E&E News: Quest for 'Common Ground' Continues as Clock Ticks
POLITICO Morning Energy: Defending from Future Cyber Attacks
Agri-Pulse: Biden's Clean Power Target Poses Stiff Challenge for Some Rural Power Providers
PV Magazine: Sunrise Brief - Leaders Urge Support for Clean Energy Tax Breaks that Benefit Public Power
POLITICO: How Much Companies That Paid No Corporate Income Tax Spent on Lobbying
Utility Dive: Utilities to DOE - More Information, Not New Regulations, Needed to Secure the Grid
The Hill: Want a Clean Energy Future? Look to the Tax Code.
2022 Public Power Community Conference: Navigating an Industry in Transition
President’s Post: Fulfilling Our Mission to Benefit Public Power and America
Keeping America Powered: Meet Utility Workers Essential To Their Communities (Part 3)
Keeping America Powered: Meet Utility Workers Essential To Their Communities (Part 2)
Keeping America Powered: Meet Utility Workers Essential To Their Communities (Part 1)
Meet Our Essential Workers: Performing a Critical Role in Our Communities
E&E News: FERC unveils transmission plan seen as key for renewables
Canary Media: The US needs to build a bigger, stronger grid. FERC has a plan for that.
Austin Energy and LIPA Leaders Take the Reins at LPPC
LPPC Urges Congress to Consider Public Financing Tools in any COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Bill
LPPC Urges Congress to Support Public Power Communities
Large Public Power Council Chair and Vice-Chair Offer Insight on Response to the Coronavirus, Plans for Re-entry
LPPC Issues Statement on Clean Energy Innovation and Deployment Act of 2020
LPPC Calls on Congress to Prioritize Public Sector Infrastructure Investment
LPPC Issues Statement Regarding EPA’s Proposed Rulemaking on Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS)
Large Public Power Council Welcomes Austin Energy General Manager Jackie Sargent as New Chair, Long Island Power Authority CEO Tom Falcone Elected Vice Chair
LPPC Issues Joint Statement Regarding FERC’s Proposed Rule on Transmission Planning