The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has opened a paper hearing on electric loop flow issues arising from the unscheduled flow mitigation plan filed by the Western Systems Coordinating Council (WSCC) (Docket No. ER95-215-000). WSCC members have endured loop flow problems in their region for over 20 years. Expanding on previous ideas, the plan includes the coordinated operation of "controllable devices," such as phase-shifting transformers, that can reduce the level of unscheduled flow by altering power flows on parallel alternating current transfer paths. Members that own controllable devices would be compensated based on the regional effectiveness of each device in reducing unscheduled flow on each of the qualified transfer paths.
Fifty-seven of WSCC's 64 members support the plan; the others filed protests, mostly related to fees and levels of compensation. They also claim that the plan's compensation procedure would discriminate in favor of phase-shifters, even though other types of facilities help mitigate loop flow. The protesters described the plan as inconsistent with the FERC's policy on transmission pricing in general and loop flow mitigation in particular. The FERC commissioners seized the opportunity to point out that they favor regional solutions to such problems. Cost-allocation issues aside, Commissioner Ronald L. Massey appeared to speak for the FERC as a whole when he said he was "impressed" that 57 of 64 WSCC members agreed to the plan.
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