FERC Ruling Hailed as Victoryby Barbara Vergetis Lundin
Fierce Energy, December 12, 2011
Recently, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) made a ruling requiring the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to "provide comparable transmission service that is not unduly discriminatory or preferential," establishing that BPA must offer open and non-discriminatory access to its transmission grid customers.
FERC found that BPA's Environmental Redispatch Policy "significantly diminishes open access to transmission, and results in Bonneville providing transmission service to others on terms and conditions that are not comparable to those it provides itself." FERC, for the first time exercising its authority under Section 211A of the Federal Power Act, has ruled that BPA has 90 days to file revisions to its Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) to provide for transmission service on terms and conditions that are comparable to those under which BPA provides transmission services to itself.
Members of a coalition of leading Pacific Northwest energy companies are calling the ruling a victory for power consumers, as well as producers.
"Fair and non-discriminatory grid operations ensures an efficient power market - which is the best way to keep energy prices low for all Northwest ratepayers. Keeping the transmission lines open ensures that the cheapest supplies reach customers," said Senior Vice President Don Furman of Iberdrola Renewables in a statement. Iberdrola was one of the member companies involved in this landmark litigation with BPA.
"BPA's policy, as we saw this past spring, was keeping prices higher for the power it was selling into the wholesale market - not protecting fish or maintaining reliability," Furman said. "FERC's ruling will stop this and other discriminatory practices, and allow all energy producers to compete on a level playing field.
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