Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Energy & Environmental Law Blog

Analyzing the critical energy and environmental issues of the day

Category Archives: Electric Power

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CPUC Hosts Workshop for New Safety Intervenor

Posted in California, Electric Power, Federal, Rulemakings
Earlier in 2016, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) received approval from the Legislature to establish its own Office of Safety Advocates (OSA) as an effort to expand the participation of safety related intervenors in relevant CPUC proceedings.  This month, the CPUC is hosting a workshop to: (i) allow stakeholders to brainstorm an effective way… Continue Reading

CPUC Cracks Down on Secrecy of Utility Data

Posted in California, Electric Power, Federal, Rulemakings
For California utilities, ensuring their information stays confidential just got harder. On August 25, 2016, the California Public Utilities Commission issued a decision updating the process for submitting potentially confidential documents to the Commission. The Commission intended for this process to ensure consistency across industries and to expedite Commission review of California Public Records Act… Continue Reading

FERC Requires New England Generators to Reveal How Bids Formulated

Posted in Electric Power, FERC
On August 8, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its order on remand from the D.C. Circuit on FERC’s approval of ISO New England’s (ISO-NE) 2013-14 winter reliability program, results, and rates. (TransCanada Power Marketing Ltd v. FERC, No. 14-1103). In a ruling that could have a significant impact on the rates that… Continue Reading

The Utility as a Distribution System Platform: NYPSC Issues Order in REV Proceeding to Establish A New Paradigm for Utilities, Customers, and Distributed Energy Resources

Posted in Electric Power, Rulemakings
In an important order (“Order”) issued on May 21, 2016 in its Reforming the Energy Vision (“REV”) proceeding, the New York Public Service Commission (“NYPSC”) announced the details of a new paradigm to govern the relationship among utilities, customers, and distributed energy resources (“DERs”).[1] In this new framework, utilities are to play an important role… Continue Reading

Oregon PUC outlines ambitious schedule for implementation of Clean Electricity programs

Posted in Electric Power, Northwest, Renewables, Rulemakings
At an April 21 workshop, the Oregon Public Utility Commission presented its timeline for implementing a variety of programs in the wake of the state’s recently passed and far-ranging energy bill, SB 1547 (the “Oregon Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan”).  Most widely known for its provisions increasing renewable portfolio standards and phasing out coal-fired… Continue Reading

Reforms to Exit Fees for Departing Load Customers May Be On the California Horizon

Posted in California, Electric Power
The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) signaled this month that the topic of exit fee reform for departing load customers may be back on the Commission’s agenda.  A significant public outcry arose late last year when Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) aimed to significantly increase its exit fees to such a level that much… Continue Reading

California Electric Vehicle Chargers Could Soon Qualify as Eligible Energy Storage Technology

Posted in California, Electric Power, Renewables
Later this year, the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) intends to issue a proposed decision addressing whether one-way managed or controlled charging of electric vehicles (often referred to as “V1G”) will be eligible for future energy storage solicitations.  Parties to the energy storage proceeding will have at least one more opportunity to convince the CPUC… Continue Reading

Joint Agency Symposium Discusses Role of Electricity Sector in California’s 2030 GHG Reduction Goals

Posted in California, Climate Change, Electric Power
Last week, several state agencies and the California Independent System Operator held a symposium on ways to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity generation while maintaining an affordable and reliable electricity system. This multi-agency symposium is part of a series of public forums soliciting stakeholder input on 5 key climate change strategy pillars to… Continue Reading

Long-Awaited California Residential Rate Design Reform Proposed at California Public Utilities Commission

Posted in California, Electric Power
On April 21, two Administrative Law Judges at the California Public Utilities Commission issued a long-anticipated proposed decision on residential rate design reform for the 3 large investor-owned utilities (IOUs) in California.  The long-term vision of the Proposed Decision is to prepare for widespread enrollment of residential customers in time-of-use (“TOU”) rate schedules with a… Continue Reading

FERC Proposes Tighter “Hold-Harmless” Commitment Standards for Utility Mergers

Posted in Electric Power, FERC
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is proposing to revise its standards for determining whether proposed utility mergers and other asset transfer transactions subject to its jurisdiction under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act have the potential to have an adverse effect on cost-based rates for transmission service or wholesale electric service. FERC’s policy… Continue Reading

Charging Forward: California PUC Expands Utility Role in EV Charging Infrastructure Deployment

Posted in California, Electric Power, Rulemakings
In a final decision determined on December 18th, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) overturned its blanket prohibition on utility ownership of electric vehicle (EV) service equipment (such as EV charging stations) and endorsed an expanded role for utilities in developing and supporting plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging infrastructure. The CPUC’s earlier July 2011 decision prohibited electric utilities… Continue Reading

FERC Announces Technical Conferences Focused on Clean Power Plan

Posted in Electric Power, Federal, FERC
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has announced plans to hold a series of technical conferences around the country to discuss the impact of the proposed Clean Power Plan on electric utilities.  The first of these conferences will be a National Overview technical conference to be held at the FERC on February 19, 2015.  Subsequent regional… Continue Reading

DOI Secretary Jewell Announces Two Utility-Scale Solar Projects in California and Nevada

Posted in California, Electric Power, Federal, Land Use, Renewables
Secretary Jewell, of the Department of Interior, announced approval of two utility-scale solar projects located on the California-Nevada border. The Stateline Solar Project will be located in the Mojave Desert in San Bernardino County, California, and supply 300-megawatts of renewable energy to power 90,000 homes and create an estimated 400 jobs during constructions and 12… Continue Reading

Those Dam Polluters!

Posted in Electric Power, Environmental Quality, Health and Safety, Natural Resources, Northwest, Oil & Gas, Water Law
The Columbia and Snake River federal network of dams, and the abundance of low cost electricity it produces, has long been the cornerstone of the Pacific Northwest manufacturing economy.  It has also supported another industry—the legions of lawyers fighting over the environmental effects.  The latest iteration is an attack brought by Columbia Riverkeepers against the… Continue Reading

FERC Lays Groundwork for Open Communication Between Natural Gas and Electric Industries

Posted in Electric Power, Federal, FERC, Oil & Gas
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking issued on July 18, 2013, is proposing to facilitate increased coordination between electric transmission operators and natural gas pipelines. FERC is proposing to amend its regulations to provide explicit authority for interstate natural gas pipelines and electric transmission system operators to share non-public operational information… Continue Reading

EEI Urges FERC to Support Transmission Investment

Posted in Electric Power, Federal, FERC
The Edison Electric Institute recently issued a White Paper discussing the need for utilities to receive rates of return on investments in transmission facilities sufficient to enable them to attract capital for expansion of the nation’s electric transmission grid.  FERC has encouraged utilities to create a robust interstate transmission network capable of protecting the reliability… Continue Reading

Senator Wyden Urges FERC to Support Regional Flexibility in Order No. 1000 Compliance Filings by Northwestern Utilities

Posted in Electric Power, FERC, Northwest
From Jim Mitchell of our DC office and John Cameron of our Portland office: In a letter to FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff dated March 5, 2013, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), the new Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, strongly urged the FERC to support principles of regional flexibility when reviewing filings by… Continue Reading

FERC Adopts Guidelines for Allocation of Capacity on New Merchant Transmission Projects & New Cost-Based Participant-Funded Transmission Projects; Proposes Reforms for Small Generator Interconnections

Posted in Electric Power, Federal, FERC, Renewables
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission acted at its meeting on January 17, 2013, to facilitate non-discriminatory access to the transmission grid by (a) issuing guidelines for allocation of capacity on new merchant transmission projects and cost-based participant-funded transmission projects, and (b) proposing new rules for interconnection of small generators (20 MW or smaller) to the… Continue Reading

Montana Bankruptcy Court Confirms Electricity Is a “Good” Under the Bankruptcy Code

Posted in Electric Power, Northwest
From DWT bankruptcy partner Hugh McCullough: The United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Montana in connection with In re Southern Montana Electric Generation and Transmission Cooperative, Inc. held that electricity was a “good” for purposes of section 503(b)(9) of the Bankruptcy Code.  That means that anyone sells electricity to a person who later… Continue Reading