TAPS efforts included the following significant activities:


TAPS’ legislative agenda and priorities for 2008 included participating in an industry-wide coalition created to respond to FERC-drafted legislation that would give the Commission “emergency” authority to require owners, operators and users of the bulk power system to take steps to protect against cybersecurity and “other national security” threats to the U.S. electric grid.  Congress adjourned in 2008 without acting on the legislation; however, there is great sensitivity on Capitol Hill to cybersecurity threats and this legislation is expected to be a priority next year.  TAPS also continued to urge Congress and FERC to exercise more oversight of organized electricity markets, insist on greater cost accountability by Regional Transmission Organizations/Independent System Operators and ensure joint transmission ownership opportunities for transmission-dependent utilities.  And TAPS reaffirmed its support for the National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor program authorized in the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which has come under attack repeatedly.

The 111th Congress is expected to make construction of new transmission facilities, particularly those needed to deliver renewable energy resources to load, a very high priority.  TAPS’ experience and record in proposing effective transmission solutions will help focus congressional attention on TAPS’ positions on anticipated issues, such as the need for effective regional planning, joint ownership and cost allocation policies.


NERC’s transformation into the Electric Reliability Organization authorized by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to establish and enforce mandatory reliability standards, subject to FERC review, has enhanced the importance of the standards development process at NERC and, for the related business practices, at NAESB.  Since his “retirement” from Vermont Public Power Supply Authority in 2006, Bill Gallagher has mobilized and coordinated TAPS efforts to monitor and participate in NERC and NAESB activities to protect the interests of TDUs. 
TAPS has worked to ensure TDU representation at both NERC and NAESB.  TAPS has significant representation on both the NERC Member Representatives Committee and the NAESB Wholesale Electric Quadrant Executive Committee, and is represented on most NERC standing committees.  TAPS members also participate in significant drafting teams at NERC and/or NAESB.

TAPS has also made its voice heard on reliability issues through submission of comments to NERC and in NERC-related FERC proceedings:

Registry Issues

  • May 30, 2008 TAPS submits comments to NERC concerning compliance registry changes to address competitive retail supplier gap.
  • TAPS writes NERC CEO Sergel on June 18, 2008 concerning RFC’s proposing standards that go beyond registry, to which Sergel responds on July 8, 2008, noting the need for NERC Board approval.
  • On August 8, 2008 TAPS comments on the Compliance and Certification Committee’s proposed modifications to NERC rules pertaining to registration; awaiting next draft to be circulated for comments.


  • August 22, 2008 TAPS provides policy input to the NERC Board concerning need for disclosure of NERC violations of its standards or deviations from rules.

Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Program, RR06-1-017

  • Working with NERC, on August 11, 2008 TAPS conditionally protested NERC’s compliance filing that omitted a previously-agreed to provision that where NERC rejects a mitigation plan accepted by a regional entity, the registered entity should not be subject to violations and penalties for the period during which the mitigation plan was under consideration by the regional entity and then by NERC.
  • December 19, 2008 FERC directs NERC to make the requested change.

Violation Severity Levels, RR08-4

  • On March 3, 2008, NERC filed revised Violation Severity Levels, including one set that had failed to pass the FERC-approved stakeholder balloting process. Rather than protest at FERC, on March 31, TAPS, with APPA, EPSA, ELCON, and NRECA, sent a letter to NERC expressing concern over NERC’s failure to abide by its rules.  On May 12, 2008 NERC responded.  FERC accepted NERC’s revised Violation Severity Levels on June 19, 2008. 

FERC (Non-Reliability Initiatives)

Transmission Barriers to Entry (AD08-13)

  • Roy Thilly (WPPI) appeared at the October 14, 2008 Technical Conference.
  • Roy Thilly’s Written Statement submitted November 13, 2008 as follow-up comments.

Preventing Undue Discrimination and Preference in Transmission Service (RM05-25) (OATT Reform) and Available Transmission Capability (RM05-17)

  • TAPS files for rehearing of Order 890-A on January 28, 2008.
  • February 25, 2008 TAPS/APPA/NRECA/TDU Systems) protective D.C. Circuit appeal dismissed April 15, 2008; SCE&G’s 4th Circuit appeal dismissed March 31, 2008.
  • Order 890-B issued June 23, 2008.
  • NRECA/TDU Systems/ETEC appealed (DC Cir.); TAPS (and APPA) intervened.

Standards of Conduct for Transmission Providers (RM07-1)

  • March 21, 2008 FERC issues new NOPR streamlining Standards of Conduct.
  • TAPS files comments May 12, 2008.
  • FERC issues Order 717, its final rule, October 16, 2008
  • TAPS seeks rehearing or clarification on November 17, 2008.

Market-Based Rates for Public Utilities (RM04-7)

  • April 21, 2008 FERC issues Order 697-A.
  • APPA/NRECA appeal Orders 697 and 697-A (9th Circuit), TAPS has intervened.

Wholesale Competition in Regions with Organized Electric Markets (RM07-19 and AD07-7)

  • FERC issues NOPR on February 22, 2008.
  • TAPS files comments on April 21, 2008.
  • FERC issues Order 719, its final rule, on October 17, 2008.
  • TAPS seeks rehearing or clarification on November 17, 2008.

EPSA Petition to Dilute Control Requirements for MBR and Mergers (EL08-87)

  • September 29, 2008 TAPS intervenes and protests.

Revisions to Form 1 (RM08-5)

  • March 14, 2008 TAPS Comments seek greater transparency for transmission rate inputs.
  • September 19, 2008 FERC issues Final Rule.