Electric Transmission Policy Goal: Lowest Reasonable
Oct 18, 2010 - PRNewswire-USNewswire
The Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy (CFTP)
said new electric transmission facilities needed
for reliability, economic savings, and satisfying
public policy requirements must be developed both
in a cost effective manner for consumers and consistent
with wholesale market competition.
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In comments filed today with the Federal Energy
Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Coalition asserted
that the beneficiaries of new transmission projects
should bear the cost of those projects. Coalition
president and chief counsel Sue Sheridan said current
bottom-up collaborative planning processes established
through FERC Order 890 and the current cost allocation
processes are generally working well.
Current activity bringing new electric transmission
facilities online underscores that viewpoint, according
to the Coalition. According to industry reports,
$9.7 billion is being invested in new transmission
this year and $11 billion is slated for 2011, a doubling
in annual investment since 2004. Currently there
are $39 billion worth of high-voltage interstate
projects and $37 billion of additions or upgrades
related to the integration of renewable energy being
planned or constructed.
"The 'beneficiaries pay' framework outlined
in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is the correct
guiding principle," Sheridan said. "This
ensures transmission development at the lowest reasonable
consumer cost as well as providing the greatest local
responsiveness and economic efficiency".
"The impact on consumers must be the Commission's
first consideration -- not transmission companies,
clean energy developers, wind turbine manufacturers,
or utilities," Sheridan continued. "Consumers
should not pay for transmission projects that deliver
no economic or reliability benefits to them, only
to be saddled with higher utility bills."
"Socializing transmission-line building costs
for sending power long distances will subsidize clean
energy producers in some regions while hurting economically
advantageous clean energy producers nearer the customers
served," Sheridan added. "That approach
may lead to the wrong clean energy choices and increased
electricity prices for everyone."
The Coalition strongly supports the Commission's
endorsement of "bottom-up planning" for
transmission facilities, beginning at the local and
regional level, advocating that the Commission's
policy should build on existing successful, coordinated,
and transparent regional processes.
The Coalition provided recommendations to strengthen
the proposed rules in several areas, believing that:
-- The Commission should ensure that state regulatory
prerogatives are not pre-empted. Local needs should
be satisfied based on state legislature and state
regulatory policy choices, not those made on their
behalf during regional planning processes.
-- The Commission should not require regional planning
processes to consider non-mandated public policy
-- Only economic and reliability benefits that
can reasonably be projected in planning and other
modeling studies should be considered in determining
cost allocation. Generalized "social benefits," or
speculative benefits are not rational or sufficient
for cost allocation.
-- The Commission should allow flexibility so that
projects not fitting into pre-determined cost allocation
rules are not precluded from being considered in
regional planning processes.
The Coalition has 10 members including CMS Energy
Corporation, Con Edison, Inc., DTE Energy Company,
Northeast Utilities, PPL Corporation, Progress Energy
Inc., Public Service Enterprise Group, SCANA Corporation,
Southern Company and United Illuminating Company.
More than 28 percent of U.S. electric customers,
representing 26 states, are served by utilities and
companies which are either formal members of the
Coalition or are on record supporting the group's
For more information, visit the Coalition's Web
Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy
CONTACT: W. John Moore, for the Coalition for Fair
Web Site: http://www.fairtransmission.org/
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