News Release: March 19, 2015
Docket No. RM14-11-000
Item No. E-1
Order No. 807
FERC Waives Tariff Requirements for Interconnection Customer’s Interconnection Facilities
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today approved a rule to remove regulatory inefficiencies and burdens by granting a blanket waiver from Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) requirements to public utilities that would only be subject to those requirements because of their ownership, control or operation of Interconnection Customer’s Interconnection Facilities (ICIF). Under the rule, third parties seeking to obtain access to ICIF, commonly known as generator tie lines, may follow the procedures under Federal Power Act sections 210, 211, and 212, which also allow the contractual flexibility for entities to agree on access solutions.
The revised regulations, proposed in May 2014 following a 2011 technical conference and 2012 Notice of Inquiry, also provide a more efficient process for generators to obtain priority rights to use transmission capacity on their interconnection facilities.
Under current policy, an ICIF owner must make excess capacity available to third parties unless it can justify its planned future use of the line. To establish priority rights and reserve excess ICIF capacity, owners have filed petitions seeking declaratory orders to demonstrate their plans and milestones for future development.
The new rule follows the 2014 proposal by creating an initial five-year “safe harbor” period during which an ICIF owner is granted the rebuttable presumption that it has definitive plans to use the excess capacity on its facilities. This will to reduce risks for ICIF owners during the critical early years of their projects.
However, the rule modifies the 2014 proposal in several ways, including by not applying the rebuttable presumption that the ICIF owner should not be required to expand its facilities during the safe harbor period. It also changes the starting point of the safe harbor period to the generating facility’s commercial operation date, and establishes a means to extend the reforms to ICIF owners that are not electric utilities and thus otherwise subject to section 210 of the FPA. Additionally, the new rule clarifies that these reforms are applicable to separate generation affiliates of public utility transmission providers.
The reforms are intended to relieve the burden on ICIF owners and create certainty for them while still preserving third parties’ rights to seek access to available ICIF capacity.