State regulation of net metering may be a thing of the past if a recent petition filed by the New England Ratepayers Association (“NERA”) with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) is granted.  NERA’s petition requests that FERC (1) find that there is exclusive federal jurisdiction over wholesale energy sales from generation sources located on the customer side of the retail meter (such as rooftop solar facilities), and (2) order that the rates for such sales be priced in accordance with the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) or the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), as applicable.
Continue Reading A Sale Is A Sale: NERA Asks FERC To Regulate Net-Metering

As described in an earlier post to this blog, the Commerce Department initiated an investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 into whether “laminations for stacked cores for incorporation into transformers, stacked and wound cores for incorporation into transformers, electrical transformers, and transformer regulators are being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security.”
Continue Reading National Security Tariff Investigation of Steel-Based Components of Electrical Transformers: Comment Dates Set

The Commerce Department on May 4, 2020, announced a new investigation under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, examining whether “laminations for stacked cores for incorporation into transformers, stacked and wound cores for incorporation into transformers, electrical transformers, and transformer regulators are being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security.”

Continue Reading National Security Tariff Investigation Targets Steel-Based Components of Electrical Transformers

A diverse group of stakeholders filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to convene a public conference to discuss integrating carbon pricing into U.S. organized regional wholesale electricity energy markets.  The group says it is not asking FERC to direct carbon pricing but instead to gather a wide range of stakeholders to discuss the technical and implementation issues raised by incorporating carbon pricing policies into the organized wholesale markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs).
Continue Reading FERC Carbon Pricing Conference Urged

The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), a Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), has proposed to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) tariff provisions that would treat electric storage facilities as transmission-only facilities if they provide the preferred solution to a transmission issue in MISO’s regional planning process.  This is the first such proposal by a wholesale electric market operator.  Up to now, storage facility requests to qualify as transmission facilities have been few and case-specific.  Treatment as a transmission resource provides additional deployment opportunities for storage resources and allows them cost recovery through cost-based transmission rates instead of relying on energy market revenues.  Standardized tariff-based terms and conditions for qualifying as a transmission resource should provide an easier path to such treatment.
Continue Reading Proposal to Treat Electric Storage as Transmission Now Before FERC

Electronic devices and their components marketed in the European Union and European Economic Area are subject to a morass of environmental and product safety requirements that is only likely to increase with the EU’s implementation of its Circular Economy Strategy in the near future.  The requirements apply to all types of equipment, from sophisticated information technology equipment, to military equipment, aircraft components, electronic medical devices, household electronics, consumer devices, and industrial tools.
Continue Reading Environmental and Safety Requirements Affecting the Marketing of Electronic Devices and their Components in the European Union and European Economic Area

The European Commission (“Commission”) has published a Recommendation on cybersecurity in the energy sector (“Recommendation”).  The Recommendation builds on recent EU legislation in this area, including the NIS Directive and EU Cybersecurity Act (see our posts here and here).  It sets out guidance to achieve a higher level of cybersecurity taking into account specific characteristics of the energy sector, including the use of legacy technology and interdependent systems across borders.

This Recommendation sets out the main issues related to cybersecurity in the energy sector and identifies actions to enhance cybersecurity preparedness.  The Commission calls on Member States to encourage industry stakeholders to build up knowledge and skills related to cybersecurity and, where appropriate, to include these considerations into their national cybersecurity framework (e.g., through strategies, laws, regulations and other administrative provisions).
Continue Reading EU Commission Issues Recommendation on Cybersecurity in the Energy Sector

Carbon pricing is seen by many as an effective means of reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from electricity generation.  California and several Eastern states have enacted “cap and trade” emission allowance programs, which have forced generators in those states to pay a price for their CO2 emissions.  With the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan not being implemented, there is currently no federal policy in place that would result in carbon pricing for electricity.  In a singular proposal, acting without any state or congressional mandate, but with the support of State regulatory agencies, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) proposes to require carbon pricing for all power sold in New York State through the NYISO wholesale electricity market.  For the first time, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will be called upon to decide whether and how carbon pricing may be incorporated into wholesale electricity market tariffs solely under the authority of the Federal Power Act.

The NYISO carbon pricing proposal must be fully developed and vetted through a stakeholder process that could take one to two years to reach consensus on a tariff amendment that would be submitted to FERC for review and approval.  This stakeholder process and the subsequent FERC proceeding will grapple with complex issues of electricity market design and novel jurisdictional and policy issues.  The outcome of this process could lead to a push for the adoption of carbon pricing in other FERC-regulated organized regional electricity markets throughout the nation.
Continue Reading New York Proposes Innovative Carbon Pricing for Electricity

A recent amendment to the Federal Power Act (FPA) that will become effective March 27, 2019 sets a $10 million threshold for requiring Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) prior approval of public utility mergers and consolidations.  That amendment also calls for FERC to adopt a rule requiring public utilities to simply notify FERC of mergers and consolidations with a value over $1 million but less than $10 million.  At its recent public meeting, FERC approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) regarding that notice requirement.  These provisions, when in effect, will place mergers and consolidations under the same value threshold as other types of transactions and eliminate the need for low-value mergers and consolidations to secure FERC approval.  These legislative and regulatory changes will be of interest to entities that anticipate merging or consolidating facilities that are subject to the jurisdiction of FERC.
Continue Reading FERC Proposes Notice Requirement For Public Utility Mergers and Acquisitions Under New Monetary Threshold

Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), New Jersey’s oldest and largest regulated gas and electric delivery utility, recently became the first utility in the United States to secure liability protections under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act (SAFETY Act) of 2002 for its internal physical security program. The July 9, 2018 decision granting PSE&G SAFETY Act protections is significant because it signals that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which administers the Act, is taking concrete steps to recognize and bolster the energy industry’s critical contributions to national security. It also sends a message that the SAFETY Act is available to help other utilities limit their liability exposure to lawsuits that claim they should have done more to prevent or respond to a terrorist attack on their generation, transmission or distribution systems.
Continue Reading PSE&G Becomes First Public Utility to Secure SAFETY Act Liability Protections from DHS