News Digest was compiled by Carl J. Levesque, editorial assistant, Lori A. Burkhart, contributing legal editor, and Bruce W. Radford, editor. For continual news updates, see www.pur.com.Nuclear Power
Transmission & ISOs
Transco Independence. Granting Entergy's request for a declaratory order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled in a case of first impression that a stand-alone transmission company ("transco") would meet the test in Order 888 for independent system operators despite passive ownership by a power producer or other market participant.
Commissioner William Massey dissented, however, preferring to wait and resolve the issue in the pending rulemaking on regional transmission organizations, where the FERC may revisit the issue.
Entergy had proposed that its five operating utility subsidiaries would join with other transmission-owning companies to convey wires assets to the transco, taking back passive ownership interests. It invited the FERC to bypass the comment process and interpret one of the proposals in its pending RTO rulemaking - that electric "market participants" can own no more than 1 percent of a qualifying RTO.
Massey called the ruling premature. He argued that whatever the commission said, the industry would assume the order was "fully intended to send a signal that transmission owners that own generation can form ISOs." He also noted concern from regulators in Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana, who all urged the FERC to reject the ruling request. Said Massey, "This level of opposition in the Entergy region should not be ignored." Docket No. EL99-57-000, July 30, 1999, 88 FERC ¶ 61,149.