FERC Pushes Regional Transmission Planning

     WASHINGTON (CN) – To encourage private developers to invest in electrical transmission infrastructure the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has eliminated the federal government’s right of first refusal to new transmission capacity, according to a new rule. The rule applies to new transmission capacity under tariffs and agreements within the agency’s jurisdiction.
     Under a FERC order, public transmission utilities must provide right of first refusal to the federal government to insure emergency capacity.
     In addition to eliminating the federal right of first refusal the FERC will require public utility transmission providers to integrate local transmission processes into regional transmission.
     According to the FERC, the emphasis on regional planning is meant to reduce the possibility that existing transmission providers will discriminate against new providers or smaller utilities without their own transmission systems.
     The FERC will also require that the costs of regional transmission systems be allocated to those who benefit from them, and are not borne by existing customers.
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