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DC Modifies Preconstruction Review

Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 1995

The District of Columbia Public Service Commission (PSC) has amended regulations governing the scope of its authority over facilities constructed outside of the municipality. Late last year, the District of Columbia Public Service Commission (PSC) issued comprehensive regulations governing the preconstruction review of utility power plants, transmission lines, cogeneration facilities, and independent power production facilities. In adopting the regulations, the PSC asserted jurisdiction over construction of generating plants and transmission lines by District of Columbia utilities in other jurisdictions. The rules called for a "case-by-case" determination of whether the PSC would require a certificate of public convenience and necessity for extrajurisdictional facilities.

On reexamination, however, the PSC decided to limit its involvement in extrajurisdictional utility construction to better match the level of review to the level of risk to the public safety associated with plant construction. Under the amended rules, utilities are only required to notify the PSC of construction plans in a contiguous state in time to allow participation in proceedings where the plant is to be located. The PSC will continue to review all utility construction plans as part of the least-cost planning process, regardless of the location of the facilities; it noted that special rules for preconstruction review of plant in locations remote to the District would only duplicate such efforts. The PSC said that plant construction issues such as site selection were best left to regulators in the state where a plant is built. Re D.C. Code Section 43-1002, Formal Case No. 873, Order No. 10536, Dec. 12, 1994 (D.C.P.S.C.).

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