United States: FERC Holds Technical Conference On Local Transmission Planning Issues In CAISO Amid Concerns Of Order No. 890 Compliance

Last Updated: May 11 2018
Article by Adrienne Thompson and Jasmine C. Hites

On May 1, 2018, FERC staff held a technical conference on local transmission planning within the California Independent System Operator Corporation ("CAISO") footprint. The conference comes at a time when two California utilities, Pacific Gas and Electric Company ("PG&E") and Southern California Edison Company ("SCE"), have transmission planning issues before the Commission, and also following FERC's recent order addressing compliance with Order No. 890 in the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. ("PJM") region (see February 20, 2018 edition of the WER).

Beginning in 2007, FERC issued Order No. 890 and several follow-on orders to increase nondiscriminatory access to the transmission system and eliminate artificial barriers to entry and participation by stakeholders. A key component of the Order No. 890 series is the requirement that transmission providers establish planning processes that satisfy various planning principles. In these orders, FERC explained that Regional Transmission Operators and Independent System Operators ("RTOs" and "ISOs") focus on regional transmission problems and solutions, whereas local planning issues are to be addressed by the individual transmission owners outside of the RTO and ISO processes.

In a series of orders between 2008 and 2010, FERC accepted CAISO's Order No. 890 compliance filings, approving CAISO's then-proposed Transmission Planning Process ("TPP"), wherein transmission system needs and solutions are vetted through several stakeholder committees. FERC also found that "local planning activities conducted by the participating transmission owners [in CAISO] are reasonable and the process, as set forth in the [CAISO] tariff and business practice manual, is transparent."

Recently, several California parties have claimed a lack of stakeholder involvement in local transmission planning activities occurring in the CAISO region. One such group ("Complainants"), led by the California Public Utilities Commission ("CPUC"), filed a complaint against PG&E on February 2, 2017, alleging that PG&E is violating Order No. 890 by categorizing roughly 60% of its capital transmission expenditures as routine maintenance, thereby insulating these projects from meaningful stakeholder review but nonetheless requesting a $387 million (or 29%) increase in PG&E's currently-effective wholesale transmission rates. A second group ("Protesters"), also including the CPUC, is challenging a "Transmission Maintenance and Compliance Review" ("TMCR") proposal from SCE, arguing that the proposal does not sufficiently comply with Order No. 890. Fodder for both Complainants and Protesters was FERC's February 2018 order in which FERC faulted a particular PJM transmission planning process for being insufficiently transparent and not allowing meaningful stakeholder input.

Recognizing the issues raised by Complainants and Protestors, on March 23, 2018, FERC issued a notice of a technical conference to discuss which transmission-related activities and/or capital additions must be submitted to CAISO's TPP, and which are left to the transmission providers to address on their own.

At the technical conference, utilities, regulators, and other stakeholders arrived prepared to address local transmission planning issues, with FERC staff moderating and directing questions. CAISO's representatives argued that under the FERC-approved "Transmission Control Agreement" ("TCA"), CAISO's TPP applies to the expansion or reinforcement of transmission facilities, particularly for reliability and economic reasons, while the responsibility for maintaining, replacing, and repairing the facilities is left to the transmission owners to handle separately. Thus, as one participant commented, transmission system maintenance and even replacement falls outside of CAISO's TPP, and thus outside of Order No. 890 altogether.

Representatives from the three main California utilities, PG&E, SCE, and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. reiterated that they consider TPP an optimal avenue for transmission projects that enhance CAISO's grid, impact power flows, or otherwise address a CAISO-identified need. On the other hand, they noted, the utilities manage what they termed "asset management" or "maintenance" activities such as replacing aging equipment, or complying with state-level safety and reliability requirements. Other stakeholders, meanwhile, alleged that utilities like PG&E were taking advantage of the ambiguity in these latter categories in order to streamline approval for projects outside the scrutiny of stakeholders and, in some cases, regulators. The CPUC staff in attendance expressed an interest in allowing greater oversight into the utilities' practices so as to minimize the potential for post-hoc prudency reviews.

FERC staff's questions narrowed in on the criteria used for system "maintenance." The utilities echoed a commitment to best practices, but otherwise offered varied responses based on their respective systems. Although they indicated receptiveness to further collaboration, they reiterated, however, that attempts to uniformly apply requirements might prevent transmission owners from addressing system-specific needs. CAISO emphasized that although it conducts a yearly audit of utilities' maintenance activities, such audits are primarily to ensure that the utilities have plans in place. CAISO's representatives noted that their visibility into each utility's maintenance needs and priorities is limited, and attempts to expand CAISO's jurisdiction into such activities would come with significant liability concerns, among other problems.

By the end of the conference, many participants agreed that more clarity around maintenance activities was important, but the fundamental dividing line between CAISO-facilitated transmission system planning and utility-controlled transmission system maintenance, repair, and replacement remained hazy.

Details about the FERC technical conference, including supplemental notices and questions can be found here and in docket No. AD18-12. The PG&E complaint docket is EL17-45, and the SCE TMCR docket is ER18-370.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Adrienne Thompson
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions