On June 18, 2012, multiple parties filed requests for rehearing of FERC’s Order No. 1000-A [PDF], which is the order on rehearing of FERC’s landmark Order No. 1000 [PDF] order on transmission planning and cost allocation. Transmission dependent utilities (“TDUs”) argued that in Order No. 1000-A the Commission erred by determining that unless public utility transmission providers elect to make provision in their Order No. 1000 compliance filings for Federal Power Act Section 205 filing of specific applications of the region’s cost allocation methodology, the only means to challenge the project-specific application of an Order No. 1000 cost allocation methodology would be by filing a Section 206 complaint. Instead, TDUs argue that the Commission should require the Section 205 filing of project-specific applications of the regional cost allocation methodology, or leave to the compliance filing process the determination (in response to requests of transmission providers or other stakeholders) as to whether such filing is required. TDUs further argue that Order 1000-A erred by altering or limiting Order No. 681’s [PDF] preference for load serving entities’ (“LSE”) long-term rights. According to TDUs, Order No. 681 extended the preference to be afforded LSEs to long-term rights from existing capacity to new transmission capacity, with one limited exception – where a transmission upgrade is funded by “direct cost assignment,” i.e., participant-funded. They argue that the exception is inapplicable to the new transmission facilities at issue in the transmission planning and cost allocation proceeding, as Order No. 1000 specifically ruled that participant funding will not comply with the regional or interregional cost allocation principles adopted by Order No. 1000.

Other parties argue that Order No. 1000-A may have created further ambiguities that will hamper regional transmission organizations’ (“RTO”) efforts to develop compliance filings setting forth local and regional transmission planning processes and a cost allocation method for regional projects by the October 11, 2012 deadline. Thus, they seek additional guidance to inform RTOs’ ongoing stakeholder processes and the resulting compliance filings. Finally, some parties assert that FERC erred by ignoring the consequences of modifying existing tariffs and agreements that designate incumbent utilities to construct new transmission facilities. They seek rehearing on the basis that this change materially alters the businesses of transmission owning companies.

A number of parties have filed petitions for review of Order Nos. 1000 and 1000-A at the U.S. Court of Appeals. They represent a broad spectrum of industry interests including transmission owners, a public service authority, public power authorities and an RTO. Many of these parties had filed requests for rehearing of Order No. 1000 challenging FERC’s legal authority to mandate transmission planning and cost allocation, and it is likely that the reach of FERC’s legal authority will be the focus of many of these appeals.

We will continue to monitor these proceedings – check our blog for further updates.