Monday, February 18, 2019

FERC Closes Book on Va. Tx Undergrounding Dispute

FERC last week ended a seven-year-old dispute over cost allocation for three Virginia Electric Power Co. transmission undergrounding projects when it accepted a compliance filing and denied related rehearing requests (ER18-318, EL10-49, et al.).

At issue was whether Old Dominion Electric Cooperative and North Carolina Electric Membership Corp. (NCEMC) should be required to pay the additional costs of undergrounding VEPCO’s Pleasant View, DuPont Fabros and Garrisonville projects.

ferc cost allocation virginia electric

FERC Headquarters | © RTO Insider

VEPCO’s filing revised its tariff to remove, extending back to March 17, 2010, the incremental costs of undergrounding the projects, and instead charged those costs to wholesale transmission customers in Virginia, which had mandated the undergrounding. In response to a conditional protest by NCEMC, the tariff was amended to exclude NCEMC and all other North Carolina wholesale customers from the undergrounding costs in light of another FERC decision on the issue last October affirming that North Carolina customers would bear no additional costs. (See FERC Upholds Cost Allocation on Va. Tx Undergrounding.)

The commission last week denied rehearing requests from VEPCO, which had argued against excluding several costs from the allocation. FERC said it was reasonable to exclude any costs that had not been shown to be directly related to constructing the projects underground.

The commission also denied rehearing requests from ODEC, Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative and Virginia Municipal Electric Association No. 1. FERC said it had already determined it appropriate to allocate incremental undergrounding costs to all Virginia customers in the Dominion zone, and that the only issue set for hearing was the appropriate amount of the costs to be allocated among those customers on a load-ratio share basis.

— Rory D. Sweeney