In a May 19 notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) FERC proposes to modify its ten-year old open-access transmission tariff and accompanying rules. Comments on the NOPR must be filed with the agency within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register — sometime in late July — and reply comments are due 30 days later.
The modifications, according to the agency, are intended to increase “clarity and transparency” and “reduce the opportunity for transmission providers to engage in undue discrimination.” FERC takes pains to depict its NOPR as targeting only the original purpose of open access — eliminating undue discrimination in access to transmission service — and not as proposing to create new market structures, such as its star-crossed standard market design. No structural reforms are demanded in the NOPR and no new transmission services are prescribed beyond the network and point-to-point services of FERC’s original 1996 Order No. 888. Notwithstanding its modest pretensions, however, the May 19 NOPR proposes important reforms in standardizing the information that is available about transmission grid capabilities, opening the planning process for investments in grid upgrades and expansions, expanding and clarifying the rights of transmission customers, and making changes in rates, charges and priorities for transmission services. The NOPR addresses modifications to transmission availability, planning, pricing, firm point-to-point service, and reservation priorities. To read a complete summary of the NOPR, please click here.