Media Statements & Speeches
Chairman Neil Chatterjee
September 27, 2019
Docket No. ER19-1166-000
Joint Statement of Chairman Neil Chatterjee and Commissioner Bernard L. McNamee on ISO New England Inc., To Comply with the Fair Rates Act of 2018
On February 28, 2019, pursuant to section 205 of the Federal Power Act (FPA),1 ISO New England Inc. (ISO-NE) filed the results from the thirteenth Forward Capacity Auction (FCA 13), to become effective June 28, 2019 (FCA 13 Results Filing). Subsequently, in response to a Commission request for additional information, ISO-NE requested waiver of section 388.112(b)(2)(i) of the Commission’s regulations,2 which requires parties seeking privileged treatment for certain filings to provide intervenors who execute a protective agreement with access to that privileged material. On September 24, 2019, ISO-NE’s FCA 13 Results Filing went into effect by operation of law.3
If the Commission does not act on a filing made pursuant to section 205 of the FPA within the 60-day period established therein because the Commission lacks a quorum, FPA section 205(g)(1)(B) requires each Commissioner to “add to the record of the Commission a written statement explaining the views of the Commissioner with respect to the change.”4 As we explain below, we would have voted to accept the proposed FCA 13 Results Filing to become effective June 28, 2019, and we would have voted to grant ISO-NE’s requested waiver.
A. Forward Capacity Market
ISO-NE administers a Forward Capacity Market (FCM), in which capacity resources compete in an annual FCA to provide capacity for a one-year Capacity Commitment Period5 three years in the future.6 Pursuant to its Tariff, ISO-NE must submit a filing with the Commission detailing the FCA results,7 including the final set of capacity zones resulting from the auction, the capacity clearing price in each capacity zone, the capacity clearing price associated with certain imports,8 a list of resources that received capacity supply obligations in each capacity zone, and the amount of those capacity supply obligations. On February 4, 2019, ISO-NE conducted FCA 13 for the June 1, 2022 - May 31, 2023 Capacity Commitment Period. On February 28, 2019, ISO-NE submitted the FCA 13 Results Filing to the Commission.
B. FCA 13 Results Filing
Three capacity zones were modeled for FCA 13: the Southeast New England (SENE) Capacity Zone; the Northern New England (NNE) Capacity Zone; and the Rest-of-Pool Capacity Zone.9 ISO-NE states that FCA 13 resulted in a clearing price of $3.80/kW-month for the SENE, NNE, and Rest-of-Pool Capacity Zones and that the substitution auction resulted in a clearing price of $0.00 for all Capacity Zones and no demand bids priced below that price cleared. ISO-NE states that the clearing price was $3.80/kW-month over the New York AC ties external interface, the Hydro-Quebec Highgate external interface, and the Phase I/II HQ Excess external interface. The clearing price was $2.681/kW-month over the New Brunswick external interface, according to ISO-NE.10
As required by the Tariff,11 ISO-NE specified the resources that received Capacity Supply Obligations in each Capacity Zone.12 The Tariff also requires ISO-NE to list which resources cleared as Conditional Qualified New Generating Capacity Resources and to provide certain information relating to Long Lead Time Generating Facilities.13 ISO-NE stated that no resources cleared as Conditional Qualified Capacity Resources in FCA 13. ISO-NE also reported that (1) no Long Lead Time Generating Facilities secured a queue position to participate as a New Generating Capacity in FCA 13 and (2) no resources with a lower queue priority were selected in the FCA subject to a Long Lead Time Generating Facility with a higher queue priority.14
In response to the Tariff requirement to identify any de-list bids rejected for reliability reasons,15 ISO-NE noted that no de-list bids were rejected for reliability reasons in FCA 13.16
Finally, as required by the Tariff,17 ISO-NE provided documentation from the auctioneer and ISO-NE’s Vice Presidents of Market Operations and System Planning supporting the competitiveness of FCA 13. ISO-NE stated that the documentation provided (1) verifies that all resources participating in FCA 13 were qualified and all de-list bids were reviewed pursuant to the Tariff;18 (2) describes how the prices were determined;19 and (3) certifies that the auction was conducted consistent with the Tariff.20
C. Deficiency Letters
On June 6, 2019, Commission staff issued a deficiency letter, requesting additional information from ISO-NE regarding the ISO-NE Internal Market Monitor’s (IMM) approval of a unit-specific offer floor in FCA 13 for the Killingly Energy Center (Killingly) (First Deficiency Letter). On June 28, 2019, ISO-NE submitted its response to the First Deficiency Letter (Deficiency Response), which seeks confidential treatment for the material included in the Deficiency Response pursuant to section 388.112 of the Commission’s regulations. 21
On July 25, 2019, Commission staff issued a second deficiency letter, notifying ISO-NE that its Deficiency Response was deficient because it did not include a form of non-disclosure agreement, as required by section 388.112(b)(2)(i) of the Commission’s regulations (Second Deficiency Letter).22 The Second Deficiency Letter requested that ISO-NE submit a form of non-disclosure agreement. On July 26, 2019, ISO-NE submitted its response to the Second Deficiency Letter, providing a response and requesting waiver of the requirement under section 388.112(b)(2)(i)23 to file a form of non-disclosure agreement (Waiver Request).
A. Waiver Request
ISO-NE requested waiver of section 388.112(b)(2)(i) of the Commission’s regulations for the information contained in the Deficiency Response24 because it claims that the information is “highly confidential, non-public, proprietary business and competitively-sensitive commercial information” similar to information that the Commission has previously declined to disclose.25 ISO-NE added that the Tariff mandates that it file this information confidentially with the Commission.26 Specifically, ISO-NE stated that neither the resource-specific cost data submitted by Killingly nor the IMM’s evaluation thereof should be disclosed to participants and intervenors, even under a non-disclosure agreement.
Killingly’s owner and developer, NTE Connecticut, LLC (NTE), objects to the disclosure of the information in the Deficiency Response and supports ISO-NE’s arguments. Among other things, NTE contends that the disclosure of this commercially sensitive information to Killingly’s direct competitors would irreparably harm Killingly’s ability to compete.27 Capacity Suppliers,28 on the other hand, oppose the Waiver Request, noting, among other things, that ISO-NE provided no justification for the complete redaction of its Deficiency Response and that, because of the redaction, intervenors are denied the ability to meaningfully participate in this proceeding.29 They suggest that certain documents should be disclosed and protected by an executed non-disclosure agreement.30 The IMM supports the Waiver Request, noting that the Tariff mandates confidentiality and that the Commission is responsible for determining whether the IMM has complied with the Tariff.31
We would have voted to grant the Waiver Request. The Commission has recognized both that parties have an interest in protecting the confidentiality of their data and that they must be permitted to participate meaningfully in proceedings.32 To address these competing principles, the Commission weighs the interests of a party seeking confidential treatment for information against the interests of parties seeking access to that information.33 In the past, this balance has been obtained by the use of non-disclosure agreements to access the confidential material.34 But, the Commission has also recognized that it is inappropriate to disclose confidential material that can create adverse impacts to competition, even under a non-disclosure agreement.35 Specifically, in the FCA 8 Order and 2017 Waiver Order, the Commission ruled that release of resource-specific privileged information was inappropriate because that information would remain sensitive beyond the FCAs in question and could harm the competitiveness of FCAs going forward.36 In the FCA 8 Order, the Commission noted that a non-disclosure agreement would not adequately protect “resource-specific new resource offer floor prices,” among other values, because their disclosure could “harm the market participants that provided such information and adversely affect the competitiveness of future capacity auctions.”37 The Commission added that, given its ongoing relevance, market participants could use this information in future FCAs to gain a competitive advantage.38
Given the critically sensitive nature of the information contained in the Deficiency Response, we would have voted to find that ISO-NE’s need for confidential treatment in this proceeding outweighs Capacity Suppliers’ need to receive this information.
B. Objections to the Commission’s Use of Deficiency Letters
NTE objects to the Commission’s issuance of deficiency letters in this proceeding, contending that such letters are meant to address “minor, technical shortcomings” in tariff filings, like a failure to meet “threshold filing requirements,” not to investigate the merits of a protest.39 In this instance, NTE argues the Commission could only act to (1) reject the filing on the merits; (2) accept the results despite Capacity Suppliers’ protest; (3) accept the results as filed but note that Capacity Suppliers could file a complaint; or (4) accept the results but set the issues raised in the protest for hearing.40 Because the Commission did not take any of these actions, NTE argues that the FCA 13 Results Filing went into effect by operation of law on June 28, 2019.41
We would have rejected NTE’s objections in regard to the issuance of the deficiency letters. The FCA 13 Results Filing was in substantial compliance with the Commission’s filing requirements because ISO-NE submitted information regarding certain FCA 13 inputs and reported detailed FCA 13 outputs resulting from ISO-NE’s application of the FCA Tariff provisions. ISO-NE also submitted testimonies from ISO-NE staff and the auctioneer in support of the competitiveness of FCA 13. However, consistent with the discussion in PP&L, Commission staff issued a deficiency letter to cure specific omissions identified in the rate filing.42 Specifically, ISO-NE did not provide sufficient cost data to evaluate Killingly’s offer floor price and, therefore, the justness and reasonableness of the FCA 13 Results Filing. Therefore, we would have found that the precedent cited by NTE does not suggest that the Commission improperly issued the deficiency letters in this proceeding given the circumstances here.
Similarly, we would have found the FCA 13 Results Filing did not go into effect by operation of law on June 28, 2019. ISO-NE submitted the Deficiency Response on June 28, 2019 and its response to the Second Deficiency Letter on July 26, 2019. Each of these responses established a new filing date for the FCA 13 Results Filing and reset FPA section 205’s 60-day clock.43
C. Killingly Qualification
Capacity Suppliers argue that the IMM must have authorized a unit-specific offer floor for Killingly at or below $3.79/kW-month and that due to the significant difference between the $8.19/kW-month default offer floor applicable to Killingly and the unit-specific offer floor approved for Killingly, the IMM appears to have ignored relevant and available comparative information for purposes of deriving its capacity price estimate and setting Killingly’s unit-specific offer floor.44 Capacity Suppliers argue that their own analyses suggest that Killingly’s approved offer floor is inconsistent with prevailing market conditions and cannot be reconciled with the procedures and standards guiding the IMM’s offer floor review under the Tariff. Among other arguments, Capacity Suppliers assert that FPA section 205 requires the Commission to independently and thoroughly review the FCA 13 Results Filing, including whether Killingly’s unit-specific offer floor was calculated pursuant to the Tariff and reflected a capacity price estimate consistent with prevailing market conditions.45
Among other things, the IMM explains that it followed the Tariff when reviewing Killingly’s request for a unit-specific offer floor, as demonstrated in the confidential informational filing previously accepted by the Commission.46 The IMM states that it confirmed no out-of-market revenues were included in Killingly’s offer price and consulted with Potomac Economics, Ltd. (Potomac Economics), ISO-NE’s external market monitor, on each assumption supporting Killingly’s bid.47 In addition, the IMM and NTE argue that Capacity Suppliers rely on inconsistent public data and a static analysis of that data, which does not reflect the IMM’s dynamic analysis and holistic review of each input to a bid.48 In addition, Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, Ltd (Mitsubishi) argues that Capacity Suppliers do not provide an accurate like-unit comparison for Killingly and incorrectly describe the efficiency of the Mitsubishi turbine technology that Killingly uses.49 Potomac Economics explains that, as the external market monitor, it reviewed and discussed the IMM’s proposed mitigation of Killingly for FCA 13 and found the IMM mitigated Killingly’s bid appropriately, according to the Tariff’s requirements.50 Capacity Suppliers assert that the Commission must fully evaluate whether the Killingly offer was based on accurate data, in addition to whether the IMM complied with the Tariff.51
The Deficiency Response contains data related to the IMM’s review of Killingly’s request for a unit-specific offer floor, including an extensive data analysis with price calculation models, documented evidence of Killingly’s offer inputs, and multiple IMM analyst summaries. We would have found that Killingly was appropriately mitigated. Based on an evaluation of the data submitted in the Deficiency Response in this docket, we believe that the IMM complied with its responsibilities as outlined in the Tariff. For example, we would have found that through its Deficiency Response, ISO-NE demonstrated that its review was not focused solely on whether Killingly received out-of-market revenues but rather that the IMM scrutinized all aspects of Killingly’s offer to ensure they were consistent with prevailing market conditions, including all relevant cost components and revenue assumptions that support Killingly’s offer. As Potomac Economics attests, the IMM also confirmed with the external market monitor that Killingly’s bid as mitigated met this standard.
D. Vineyard Wind Qualification
We would have rejected the arguments by Vineyard Wind, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (Massachusetts Attorney General), Clean Energy Advocates52 and/or Public Citizen Inc. (Public Citizen) related to Vineyard Wind’s participation in the auction, specifically that FCA 13 resulted in unjust and unreasonable rates because the Vineyard Wind facility was not exempted from the Minimum Offer Price Rule (MOPR) as a Renewable Technology Resource.53
The deadline to qualify as a Renewable Technology Resource for FCA 13 was October 2, 2018. On January 29, 2019, the Commission accepted revisions to the Tariff that enabled offshore wind resources to qualify as Renewable Technology Resources, six days before FCA 13 was conducted. While Vineyard Wind met the Tariff requirements to seek Renewable Technology Resource status at the time FCA 13 took place on February 4, 2019, it did not qualify by the October 2, 2018 deadline established in the Tariff. Vineyard Wind did seek a waiver of the Tariff to participate in FCA 13 as a Renewable Technology Resource on December 14, 2018, in Docket No. ER19-570-000. However, that waiver request remains pending before the Commission. As such, there has been no action on the Vineyard Wind waiver request, and on February 4, 2019, Vineyard Wind had not received a waiver to allow it to be treated as a Renewable Technology Resource. Based on these facts, we would have found that ISO-NE treated Vineyard Wind’s capacity appropriately and in accordance with the Tariff—not as a Renewable Technology Resource—when it conducted FCA 13. Based on that finding, we similarly would have found no merit to protestors’ argument that Vineyard Wind’s inability to participate in FCA 13 as a Renewable Technology Resource yielded unjust and unreasonable FCA 13 results.
E. IMM Reporting Responsibilities
New England Power Generators Association, Inc. (NEPGA) argues that the FCA 13 Results Filing is deficient because it does not include IMM testimony attesting to the competitiveness of FCA 13.54 We agree with ISO-NE that the Tariff provisions governing the FCA results filing do not require the IMM to submit documentation certifying the competitiveness of the FCA and we would have made this finding. The Tariff does not specify that any particular entity must certify the FCA’s competitiveness but rather provides examples of who may certify the results, neither of whom is the IMM.55 While the Commission has reviewed the IMM’s testimony in its evaluation of prior FCAs, that does not create a presumption that such documentation is required and, moreover, we believe that ample documentation was supplied with the FCA 13 Results Filing to meet the Tariff’s requirements.
F. Protests Concerning FCM Rules
We would have rejected the arguments raised by: (i) Calpine Corporation (Calpine), generally concerning alleged design defects in the capacity market and alleged resulting suppression in the FCA 13 clearing results and residual effects in future auctions;56 (ii) Public Citizen, generally concerning the substitution auction, which it argues is flawed because only 10 percent of the supply offers cleared in FCA 13, causing consumers to pay more for capacity, and alleged last-minute changes to the measurement and verification requirements for valuing energy efficiency resources for FCA 13 instituted by ISO-NE, which Public Citizen claims were not authorized by the Tariff and contributed to unjust and unreasonable FCA 13 results;57 and (iii) Clean Energy Advocates, who agreed with Public Citizen that Vineyard Wind’s exclusion as a Renewable Technology Resource in FCA 13 illustrates that the substitution auction is failing to accommodate state policies and will be an insufficient substitute once the Renewable Technology Resource exemption is phased out and requested the Commission to direct ISO-NE to submit an informational filing explaining the substitution auction’s performance in FCA 13 and estimating the total cost to New England consumers.58
We would have found the comments regarding various FCM rules to be outside the scope of this proceeding,59 and found that the arguments represent a collateral attack on past Commission orders accepting the FCM rules. The Commission has found the market rules cited by Calpine to be just and reasonable in prior proceedings, and those rules are unchanged by ISO-NE’s instant filing.60 With respect to the substitution auction, the Commission previously found that the substitution auction construct and gradual phase-out of the Renewable Technology Resource exemption struck a just and reasonable balance between the competing objectives of maintaining competitive capacity market prices and accommodating state policy interests.61 The Commission added that the substitution auction is not rendered unjust and unreasonable simply because it does not guarantee that state-sponsored resources will obtain capacity supply obligations.62
We note that, given the lack of quorum at the time of the statutory deadline for Commission action on the FCA 13 Results Filing, we were unable to fully discuss the issues that arose in this proceeding with our fellow Commissioner, whose arguments we would have thoughtfully considered. To the extent any of those discussions raised new issues for consideration, we would have carefully considered those matters and incorporated them into the decision-making process.
16 U.S.C. § 824d (2018).
18 C.F.R. § 388.112(b)(2)(i) (2019).
ISO New England Inc., Docket No. ER19-1166-000, Notice of Filing Taking Effect by Operation of Law (Sept. 25, 2019).
16 U.S.C. § 824d (g)(1)(B).
Capitalized terms not defined herein are used as they are defined in ISO-NE’s Transmission, Markets and Services Tariff (Tariff). See Tariff, Rules of Construction; Definitions (120.0.0) § I.2.
See generally Devon Power LLC, 115 FERC ¶ 61,340, order on reh’g, 117 FERC ¶ 61,133 (2006), aff’d in relevant part sub nom. Me. Pub. Utils. Comm’n v. FERC, 520 F.3d 464 (D.C. Cir. 2008), order on remand, Devon Power LLC, 126 FERC ¶ 61,027 (2009).
Tariff, § III.13.8.2 (22.0.0).
Tariff, § III.22.214.171.124(d) (52.0.0).
FCA 13 Results Filing at 2.
Id. at 3-4.
Tariff, § III.13.8.2(a) (22.0.0).
See FCA 13 Results Filing, Att. A.
Tariff, § III.13.8.2(a) (22.0.0).
FCA 13 Results Filing at 4.
Tariff, § III.13.8.2(a) (22.0.0).
FCA 13 Results Filing at 5.
Tariff, § III.13.8.2(b) (22.0.0).
See FCA 13 Results Filing, Att. B (Rourke Testimony).
See FCA 13 Results Filing, Att. C (Ethier Testimony).
See FCA 13 Results Filing, Att. D (Ausubel Testimony). On May 24, 2019, ISO-NE submitted supplemental information to the FCA 13 Results Filing. ISO-NE noted that the auction software used to conduct FCA 13 failed to publish the disaggregated quantity of capacity from Demand Capacity Resources by type at the end-of-round price for each Capacity Zone, as required by the Tariff. Supplemental Filing at 1. ISO-NE explained that this publication requirement was erroneously left in the Tariff when ISO-NE submitted Tariff revisions to implement the full integration of demand response. Id. As such, ISO-NE represents that the omission of the information had no effect on FCA 13 and did not financially harm any market participant. Id. at 4. No party commented on the Supplement Filing nor contested the FCA 13 Results Filing on this basis.
18 C.F.R. § 388.112.
Id. § 388.112(b)(2)(i).
Id. § 388.112(b).
Id. § 388.112(b)(2)(i).
Waiver Request at 1-2 (citing ISO New England Inc., 161 FERC ¶ 61,061 (2017) (2017 Waiver Order); ISO New England Inc., 148 FERC ¶ 61,137 (2014) (FCA 8 Order)).
Id. at 2 (citing Tariff, III.13.8.1(c)(vii) (22.0.0)).
August 15, 2019 Motion to Leave for Leave to Intervene Out-of-Time, Objection to Deficiency Letters, and to Disclosure of Confidential Information, and Comments of NTE (NTE Comments) at 10, 12-13.
Capacity Suppliers include Cogentrix Energy Power Management, LLC; Great River Hydro, LLC; NRG Power Marketing LLC; and Vistra Energy Corp.
August 2, 2019 Submission of Non-Disclosure Agreements and Comments of the Capacity Suppliers on the Supplemental Response and Waiver Request of ISO New England Inc. (Capacity Suppliers Comments) at 4-5.
Id. at 5-6.
August 7, 2019 ISO New England Inc. Internal Market Monitor Response and Objection to Disclosure of Confidential Information to Capacity Suppliers (IMM Objection) at 3-5 (citing Tariff, III.13.8.1(c)(vii) (22.0.0)). The IMM adds that the Commission’s regulations exempt sensitive commercial and financial information from public disclosure. Id. at 4 (citing 18 C.F.R. §§ 388.106(b)(3), 388.107(d)).
W. Deptford Energy, LLC, 134 FERC ¶ 61,189, at PP 25-26 (2011).
Id. P 30.
FCA 8 Order, 148 FERC ¶ 61,137 at P 20.
See id. P 21.
Id. P 19; 2017 Waiver Order, 161 FERC ¶ 61,061 at P 16.
FCA 8 Order, 148 FERC ¶ 61,137 at P 21.
NTE Comments at 7-8 (citing Cent. Me. Power Co., 90 FERC ¶ 61,198, at 61,140 (2000); PP&L Inc., 95 FERC ¶ 61,160, at 61,520 (2001); Gulf States Utils. Co., 28 FERC ¶ 61,391, at 61,720, reh’g denied, 29 FERC ¶ 61,294 (1984)).
NTE Comments at 8.
Id. at 8-9.
See PP&L, Inc., 95 FERC ¶ 61,160 at 61,520.
Duke Power Co., 57 FERC ¶ 61,215, at 61,713 (1991); accord Cent. Me. Power Co., 128 FERC ¶ 61,143, at P 89 (2009) (“Submission of a response to a deficiency letter ‘resets the clock’ with respect to the Commission’s statutory obligation[.]”).
Capacity Suppliers Protest at 17-18.
See id. at 18-20.
See IMM Answer at 3.
Id. at 10.
Id. at 11-12; NTE Comments 13.
Mitsubishi Comments at 3-6.
Potomac Economics Comments at 3-6.
August 23, 2019 Motion for Leave to Respond and Limited Response of the Capacity Suppliers (Capacity Suppliers Response) at 2-3.
Clean Energy Advocates include Acadia Center, Conservation Law Foundation, and Sierra Club.
See Clean Energy Advocates Answer at 2-6; Massachusetts Attorney General Comments at 3-6; Public Citizen Protest at 2-3; Vineyard Wind Protest at 3, 13.
NEPGA Protest at 1-2.
Tariff, § III.13.8.2(b) (22.0.0).
See generally Calpine Comments at 1-4, 8-9.
See generally Public Citizen Protest at 3-4.
See generally Clean Energy Advocates Answer at 6-8.
See ISO New England Inc., 130 FERC ¶ 61,145, at P 33 (2010) (finding that allegations regarding flaws in the FCM design are outside the scope of the FCA 3 results proceeding); ISO New England Inc., 127 FERC ¶ 61,040, at PP 28-30 (2009) (finding that requests for adjustments to the FCM were not properly raised in the FCA 2 results proceeding). Moreover, subsequent to the filing of Public Citizen’s protest, the Commission found that ISO-NE made no changes to the measurement and verification standards for energy efficiency resources prior to FCA 13 and did not revise previously approved FCA 13 Qualification Packages. See ISO New England Inc., 167 FERC ¶ 61,032, at P 19 (2019).
See, e.g.,ISO New England Inc.,165 FERC ¶ 61,202 (2018) (accepting ISO-NE’s mechanism to ensure fuel security in the short term); ISO New England Inc., 161 FERC ¶ 61,035 (2017) (accepting revisions to net cost of new entry and Offer Review Trigger Price); ISO New England Inc., 154 FERC ¶ 61,008 (2016) (accepting reduction to installed capacity requirement to reflect behind-the-meter solar resources); ISO New England Inc., 147 FERC ¶ 61,173 (2014) (accepting seven-year capacity price lock-in); ISO New England Inc., 149 FERC ¶ 61,009 (2014) (order accepting ISO-NE’s pay for performance proposal, including certain FCM financial assurance requirements); ISO New England Inc., 138 FERC ¶ 61,185 (2014) (accepting financial assurance requirements for a resources that request a one-year deferral of its Capacity Supply Obligation).
See ISO New England Inc., 162 FERC ¶ 61,205, at P 101 (2018) (finding that the substitution auction is a just and reasonable means to accommodate the entry of new state-sponsored policy resources into the Forward Capacity Market over time).
See id. P 102.
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