Monday, February 18, 2019

FERC OKs PJM Allocations over Dominion, ODEC Objections

By Rory D. Sweeney

FERC on Tuesday approved cost allocations for 60 new transmission projects added to PJM’s Regional Transmission Expansion Plan (RTEP), including three high-voltage projects allocated entirely to Dominion Energy’s zone despite protests that cost sharing of such regionally beneficial projects is under judicial review (ER18-2350).

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The projects were filed on Aug. 30 and approved by PJM’s Board of Managers in July. The RTEP amendments include cost responsibility assignments for:

  • 27 transmission enhancements and expansions that operate as lower-voltage facilities whose costs were allocated pursuant to the solution-based distribution factor method;
  • 15 transmission enhancements costing less than $5 million whose costs were allocated to the zones where the enhancements are located;
  • Four transmission enhancements that were included in the RTEP solely to address individual transmission owner Form 715 local planning criteria, and whose costs were allocated to the zones of the individual TOs whose Form 715 local planning criteria underlie each enhancement;
  • Nine transmission enhancements that operate at or below 200 kV whose costs were allocated to the zones in which the enhancements are located; and
  • Five transmission enhancements needed to address spare parts, replacement equipment and circuit breakers whose costs were allocated to the zones in which the enhancement are located.

Dominion and Old Dominion Electric Cooperative argued that three of Dominion’s Form 715 projects address end-of-life planning criteria for high-voltage facilities, and that the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in August rejected FERC’s approval of a PJM Tariff revision that resulted in the RTO assigning all the costs to Dominion’s zone for two high-voltage projects the company initiated through its Form 715 criteria.

The court agreed with Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, who dissented on the revision approval on the grounds that the commission should preserve regional cost allocation “for certain high-voltage projects, even if those projects are selected solely to address local planning criteria.” (See DC Circuit Court Rejects PJM Tx Cost Allocation Rule.)

However, in the current RTEP allocations, LaFleur, Commissioner Richard Glick and Chairman Neil Chatterjee determined that ODEC and Dominion were not alleging that PJM incorrectly applied its Tariff but were instead challenging the cost-assignment provisions of the Tariff itself, and therefore approved the allocations. The order also set Nov. 28 as the refund date for any Tariff revisions that occur when the court’s remand of FERC’s approval is addressed.

Commissioner Kevin McIntyre did not participate in the decision.