Regulatory Updates

Court Issues Opinion Undercutting FERC Use of Tolling Orders

Seal of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia

On June 30, 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an en banc opinion regarding the use of tolling orders issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) for requests for rehearing of its actions taken pursuant to the National Gas Act (“NGA”). The opinion eliminates the current practice by FERC of issuing a tolling order in response to a request for rehearing and will affect the rights of parties before FERC to seek judicial review of FERC actions.

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California Public Utilities Commission Issues Decision on Central Procurement

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On June 11, 2020, the California Public Utilities Commission (“CPUC”) adopted a final Decision regarding a central procurement framework for the CPUC-jurisdictional Load-Serving Entities’ (“LSEs”) multi-year local Resource Adequacy (“RA”) requirements. This Decision impacts the procurement authority of many California LSEs and will affect the costs of meeting RA requirements.

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PG&E Bankruptcy Timeline

Below, please find DWGP's timeline tracking Docket Numbers 19-30088 and 19-30089 at the United States Bankruptcy Court of Northern District of California:  

  • 6/20/20: Judge Dennis Montali issued an Order Confirming Debtors’ And Shareholder Proponents’ Joint Chapter 11 Plan Of Reorganization Dated June 19, 2020
  • 6/17/20: Judge Dennis Montali issued a Memorandum Decision – Confirmation Of Debtors’ And Shareholder Proponents’ Joint Chapter 11 Plan Of Reorganization
  • 5/28/20:  Decision Approving Reorganization Plan, California Public Utilities Commission, D.20-05-053
  • 1/30/2020: Judge Dennis Montali issued Order Authorizing PG&E to settle claims with Tubbs Fire Preference Claimants 

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FERC Further Revises Return on Equity Methodology and Issues Policy Statement

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On May 21, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued an Order on Rehearing of Opinion No. 569 (“Opinion No. 569-A”), again revising its methodology for determining whether a base Return on Equity (“ROE”) for a jurisdictional electric public utility is unjust and unreasonable, and if so, determining a just and reasonable replacement ROE under Federal Power Act (“FPA”) § 206. In the context of the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) transmission owners’ complaint proceedings, Opinion No. 569-A revises the ROE methodology to:

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Presidential Order Tasks Department of Energy with Securing Bulk-Power System

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The May 1, 2020 Executive Order on Securing the Bulk-Power System reflects the President’s concern that “the unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of bulk-power system electric equipment designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries augments the ability of foreign adversaries to create and exploit vulnerabilities in bulk-power system electric equipment, with potentially catastrophic effects.” 

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FERC to Hold Technical Conference on Hybrid Resources

Canva Solar Electricity Plant

The Staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a conference on technical and market issues related to projects that are comprised of more than one resource type at the same plant location (“Hybrid Resources”). The technical conference will focus on the pairing of generation and electric storage resources as a Hybrid Resource.

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April 1, 2020 Newly Effective Reliability Standards

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As of April 1, 2020, the following standards become effective:
CIP-003-8 – Cyber Security – Security Management Controls
PRC-006-NPCC-2 – Automatic Underfrequency Load Shedding

All Reliability Standards, along with their status, purpose, implementation plans, relevant FERC Orders, and Reliability Standard Audit Worksheets, can be accessed at NERC’s One-Stop Shop.

For more information on the NERC Reliability Standards and their potential applicability and impact, please contact Kristen Connolly McCullough.

FERC Holds Call with State Officials on Coronavirus Response

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On Friday, March 27, 2020 FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee convened a conference call with state public utility commissioners (members of the National Association of  Regulatory Utility Commissioners - NARUC), state energy officials (members of the National Association of State Energy Officials - NASEO) and representatives from the National Governors Association, to discuss Coronavirus response measures.  The briefing included statements by the Directors of FERC’s Office of the Executive Director, Office of Electricity Reliability and the Office of Energy Infrastructure Security.  FERC has 1,400 employees working remotely.  FERC staff reported regular communications  with the RTOs and ISOs and indicated no present threats to bulk electric system reliability.  In-person audits and testimony through the Office of Enforcement have been cancelled until July.  NARUC President Brandon Presley of the Mississippi Commission also stressed the importance of state-federal cooperation. Jeff Genzer of DWGP participated on the call in his role as NASEO Counsel.  If you have any questions, please contact Jeff Genzer.