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Commission Watch

The commission tacks a new name onto a familiar concept.
Fortnightly Magazine - June 1 2003

to enforce that," he said. "But even if they do I think the white paper effectively says, 'OK, that is fine.'"

Sullivan expects FERC to back down even more from the white paper. "Even if the Senate bill, which precludes [FERC] from moving to a final rule, does not get enacted, it is hard for me to imagine [FERC] will be able to go to a final rule that isn't even more watered down than what the white paper reflects," she says. "Having awakened the sleeping giants, it is going to be awhile before they go back to sleep."

Sullivan finds it interesting that FERC and the Senate both have recognized the appropriateness of allowing the RTOs and the ISOs that are up and running, or about to be up and running, to move forward on an voluntary basis, "even where their proposals depart from the theoretician's perfection."

"I think everybody is willing to let those that have reached voluntary agreement go forward, and my guess is that will be the trend over the next handful of years."

Kiesling thinks it is pretty clear that FERC offered the white paper as a way to better inform the Senate where FERC stands, and to protect against any delays in funding due to uncertainty about a final rule. She adds, succinctly, "The Senate bill is just a mess."

In Brief . . .

  • Gas Price Reporting. FERC directed 11 companies to show they have corrected procedures for reporting natural gas price data to help ensure that companies publishing price indexes receive complete and accurate information. Commissioner Brownell concurred separately.
  • CAISO Grid Charges. FERC largely upheld an initial decision on the California ISO's unbundled grid management charge (GMC) for 2001, but reversed on two issues: (1) allocation of control area service (CAS) costs to behind-the-meter generation; and (2) passthrough by Pacific Gas and Electric Co. of the market operations component of the GMC. FERC reallocated ISO costs among customers to prevent the trapping downstream of such costs.
  • MISO/GridAmerica Tariffs. FERC accepted tariff revisions to Midwest ISO's open access transmission tariff to allow for service over transmission facilities of GridAmerica LLC, which allows that independent transmission company to begin service within the MISO footprint.
  • Enron Co-gen Investigation. FERC initiated an investigation into Enron Corp. and its ownership of three cogeneration facilities, concerning whether Enron improperly retained qualifying facility benefits from the facilities after its merger with Portland General Electric.

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