On September 30, 2016, FERC accepted the change in status filing
submitted by Puget Sound Energy, Inc. ("Puget") and
certain affiliated generators. The filing informed FERC that Puget
intended to join the Energy Imbalance Market ("EIM")
administered by the California Independent System Operator
Corporation ("CAISO") beginning on October 1, 2016. FERC
accepted the change in status filing and authorized Puget to
transact at market-based rates ("MBR") in the EIM, based
on Puget's market power analysis submitted (and supplemented)
as part of the change in status filing.
In its change in status filing, Puget argued that, unlike the
other EIM participants, it has MBR authority in each of the
balancing authority areas ("BAA") within the EIM and,
therefore, there are no restrictions on its MBR authority that
would prevent it from selling energy throughout the EIM. In support
of this argument, Puget submitted market power analyses
demonstrating a lack of market power in the EIM, and the utility
furthermore argued that market monitoring and mitigation measures
previously approved by FERC will also help prevent EIM participants
from exerting market power in areas constrained by congestion.
Puget provided a supplemental market power analysis on July 27,
2016, which analyzed whether the Puget BAA constituted a submarket
within the broader EIM. According to the supplemental market power
analysis, energy imbalance demand will be much less than the 300 MW
firm transmission Puget holds on the Bonneville Power
Administration's ("BPA") system for EIM
transactions. As Puget argued, the supplemental market power
analysis results demonstrated that its BAA will not constitute an
EIM submarket, and thus, Puget argued it should be permitted to
transact under its existing MBR authority throughout the entire EIM
footprint. Any remaining congestion concerns, Puget argued, can be
addressed through CAISO's local market power mitigation
measures as well as BPA's pro rata curtailment
In its decision, FERC agreed that Puget successfully
demonstrated that it lacked market power in the 6-BAA EIM footprint
and that the Puget BAA did not constitute a submarket within the
EIM. The Commission was particularly persuaded by Puget's 300
MW firm power reservation with BPA, as well as the July 27
supplemental market power analysis demonstrating that congestion
levels would be minimal and manageable through BPA's
curtailment procedures. FERC accepted Puget's filing,
authorized the utility to transact in the EIM at MBR, and directed
Puget to submit another change in status filing if the amount of
its firm transmission reservation available for EIM transfers on
BPA's transmission system decreases.
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On January 6, 2017, following nearly four years of discussions, the entities comprising the Mountain West Transmission Group announced that they are exploring "potential participation with an existing regional transmission organization."
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