Thursday, February 21, 2019

SPP Regional State Committee Briefs: Oct. 29, 2018

By Tom Kleckner

Changing of the RSC’s Guard

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — SPP’s Regional State Committee on Monday elected a 2019 slate of officers that includes Arkansas Public Service Commissioner Kim O’Guinn as its president.

Scott Rupp (Missouri) and incoming RSC President Kim O’Guinn (Arkansas) listen to the discussion. | © RTO Insider

The committee also said goodbye to New Mexico Public Regulation Commissioner Pat Lyons, who has served on the committee since his election to the PRC in 2010.

Lyons is term limited; however, he is running to regain his old job as New Mexico’s Commissioner of Public Lands, which he also held for eight years. A Republican and a 10-year state senator, he is in a tight race with Democrat Stephanie Garcia Richard.

New Mexico Commissioner Pat Lyons enjoys his last RSC meeting | © RTO Insider

“It’s been a pleasure,” said Lyons, the RSC’s longest tenured member. “I know everyone in this room cares for the affordability and reliability of electric services, and that’s what we’re about. Thank you for helping the consumer.”

Dana Murphy, chair of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, paid tribute to Lyons and SPP Directors Jim Eckelberger and Harry Skilton, who are also stepping down from their positions. Fighting back her emotions, Murphy noted SPP staff members “no longer with us” and RSC members campaigning to retain their positions.

Murphy lost a runoff in August for the Republican nomination for Oklahoma’s lieutenant governor. After taking 45.8% of the vote in the GOP primary, she lost the runoff by more than 16 points. (See Okla. Commissioner Murphy Loses Runoff for Lt. Governor.)

“Some of you are wondering if it hurts to lose. It does,” said Murphy, who was credited with running a positive campaign. “I would rather lose with honor, than win without.”

Also elected as RSC officers were Nebraska Power Review Board Member Dennis Grennan as vice president and South Dakota Public Utilities Commissioner Kristie Fiegen as secretary. Their terms, and O’Guinn’s, begin Jan. 1.

SPP, MISO Regulators to Meet Nov. 11 at NARUC

The RSC issued its approval of goals and guiding principles brought forward by state regulators hoping to improve market coordination and seams issues between SPP and MISO.

A liaison committee comprising regulators from both the RSC and MISO’s Organization of MISO States will hold a public meeting Nov. 11 in Orlando, Fla., coinciding with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ annual meeting.

The committee has asked SPP and MISO to present white papers “identifying barriers to more efficient seams operations and transmission planning” and offer solutions. Those papers will be discussed Nov. 11.

The group’s goals are to:

  • Increase benefits to ratepayers in both markets by improving market-based transactions and operations across the seam;
  • Ensure equal consideration of beneficial regional and interregional projects in transmission planning, including evaluation of projects identified in the coordinated system plans;
  • Support the timely interconnection of new resources that includes consideration of the dynamics of both RTOs’ interconnection queues; and
  • Improve inter-RTO relations through state-led cooperation.

The OMS approved the goals and principles during its Oct. 25 annual meeting.

Dennis Grennan (Nebraska) and RSC President Shari Feist Albrecht (Kansas) share a laugh. | © RTO Insider

The two committees agreed this summer to work together in the hopes of helping resolve issues SPP and MISO haven’t. The task force is seen as increasing benefits to ratepayers in both markets and ensuring equal consideration of beneficial interregional projects. (See “RSC, OMS to Take Crack at Interregional Issues,” SPP Regional State Committee Briefs: July 30, 2018.)

The liaison committee includes Louisiana’s Lambert Boissiere, North Dakota’s Julie Fedorchak, Missouri’s Daniel Hall and Minnesota’s Matt Schuerger from OMS; and Kansas’ Shari Feist Albrecht, South Dakota’s Fiegen, Arkansas’ O’Guinn and Texas’ DeAnn Walker from the RSC. Iowa’s Nick Wagner, NARUC’s president-elect, serves as an ex officio member.

CAWG Addressing Cost Allocation in Wind-rich Areas

The Cost Allocation Working Group told the committee that work continues on a white paper reviewing cost allocation in wind-rich areas and determining whether changes are necessary, an issue raised by Sunflower Electric Power earlier this year. (See “Committee Takes on Cost Allocation Issues,” Mountain West, Cost Allocation Top SPP RSC Concerns.)

John Krajewski, who represents the Nebraska PRB, said the group developing the paper is analyzing rate design options that will meet FERC’s definition of “just and reasonable” rates, but that also reflect cost-causation principles.

“We want something that’s easy to explain to stakeholders and FERC, and something that is easy to administer,” Krajewski said. ”We don’t want six different vendors and five years of back billing.”

The paper is due by the RSC’s April 2019 meeting.