TAPS efforts included the following significant activities:
2010 continued the discussion regarding cost allocation and transmission siting authorities prompted by energy legislation (S. 1462) approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee chaired by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). Throughout the spring and into early fall, Sen. Bingaman and other Senate leaders continued to try to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote. S 1462 contained provisions, inserted in Committee through an amendment offered by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), which would have directed FERC to allocate costs of new transmission facilities in proportion to measurable economic or reliability benefits.
TAPS believes the Corker methodology is unworkable and would hamper the development of needed transmission. This view was shared by Sen. Bingaman and FERC Chairman Wellinghoff. TAPS is advocating a middle ground between the position of the Corker advocates and that of the advocates of broad cost socialization.
On other transmission issues, TAPS met with Members of Congress, Administration officials and FERC to advocate inclusive, transparent regional transmission planning, supplemented by a mandatory inter-regional planning process for extra high voltage and multi-regional projects; enhanced federal siting authority if states fail to act to implement approved projects promptly; joint ownership of major new facilities for public power, cooperative utilities and other smaller Load Serving Entities; and requiring FERC to establish cost allocation principles and enhanced cost recovery certainty through a rulemaking. TAPS consultants also participated in two Energy and Environment Study Institute congressional briefings on panels dedicated to transmission policy. Each of these briefings was attended by roughly 100 congressional staffers.
Federal cyber security continued to be a legislation priority for TAPS in 2010. As part of a broad coalition of electric sector organizations, TAPS continued to advocate legislation that would give FERC narrow authority to address imminent cyber security threats to the bulk electric system, while preserving the standards development process established in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. TAPS and the coalition had significant policy concerns about the House-passed GRID Act (H.R. 5026) and the version of the GRID Act approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, both of which gave FERC broad new authority over cyber security vulnerabilities.
In mid-2010, the Senate Commerce and Homeland Security Committees began to explore a more collaborative approach to cyber security. Instead of focusing exclusively on the electric sector, those bills advocated improved information sharing between the federal and private sectors, as well as with international partners; a risk-based prioritization model that would secure the most critical assets against imminent threats and vulnerabilities; and involving industry expertise in the development of appropriate security measures and best practices to address cyber security emergencies and vulnerabilities. The 111th Congress adjourned without final passage of a cyber security bill. TAPS expects the legislation to be a priority again for Congress in 2011.
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 NERC standards development process and related NAESB business practices. 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. For most of 2010, Bill has served as vice chair of the NERC Member Representatives Committee, and has recently been elected as chair.
TAPS has worked to ensure TDU representation at both NERC and NAESB. TAPS has significant representation on the NERC Member Representatives Committee, the NAESB Board, 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 submissions to FERC in NERC- and NAESB-related proceedings, as well as submission of comments to NERC and NAESB. In response to the March 18, 2010 FERC orders that, in a heavy-handed manner, rocked the foundations of the statutory roles of FERC and NERC, TAPS sprung into high gear, working closely with industry trade associations, often filing joint pleadings, to forcefully oppose FERC’s actions. While the results of these efforts are still playing out, there is no doubt that in 2010 TAPS played an important role in FERC’s post-March 18 reevaluation of its relationship with NERC.
TAPS 2010 NERC and NAESB-related activities include:
Policy Statement on Penalty Guidelines (PL10-4)
- After FERC’s March 18, 2010 issuance of guidelines modeled after federal criminal sentencing guidelines, TAPS (Jeff Schwarz) participates in April 7, 2010 workshop.
- Responding to FERC’s April 15 announcement that it will accept public comments on the Policy Statement before issuing a final order and putting the guidelines into effect, TAPS files comments on June 14 on small system issues.
Rules of Procedure Directive (RR09-6)
- April 5, 2010 TAPS comments to NERC on actions to be taken in response to FERC’s March 18 orders.
- In response to FERC’s March 18, 2010 directive that NERC modify its ROP to preclude stakeholders from preventing NERC from complying with FERC directives, on April 19, 2010 TAPS submits opposing comments joined by virtually entire industry-EEI, APPA, NRECA, CEA, LPPC and ELCON.
- On June 4, 2010, TAPS, with APPA, EEI, ELCON, EPSA, LPPC, and NRECA, jointly comment to NERC on its initial draft of ROP modifications to comply.
- On November 12, 2010, in response to FERC’s September 16, 2010 order denying rehearing (although making clear NERC’s flexibility to propose an equally efficient and effective alternative), TAPS joins with the industry (EEI, APPA, NRECA, LPPC and ELCON) to seek court review of FERC’s orders, as a companion to NERC’s appeal, while requesting that the appeals be held in abeyance pending FERC action on the compliance filing (which request has been granted).
- October 27, 2010 Terry Huval and John Twitty, TDU members of the Member Representatives Committee, submit policy input to the NERC Board of Trustees with respect to NERC’s response to FERC’s ROP directive and other topics.
- TAPS works with the industry to develop and submit joint comments (with APPA, EEI, EPSA and LPPC) to NERC on December 3 suggesting revisions to NERC’s “Option C” ROP modifications, which suggestions were largely adopted by NERC and included in its December 23, 2010 compliance filing.
Bulk Electric System (RM09-18)
- May 10, 2010 TAPS comments opposing FERC’s March 18, 2010 NOPR proposing a 100 kV bright-line threshold from which only FERC can grant exemptions.
- On December 20, 2010, TAPS files a limited request for clarification, or in the alternative, rehearing.
TPL-002 Interpretation (RM10-6)
- After FERC’s March 18, 2010 NOPR proposed an interpretation contrary to that adopted by NERC with overwhelming stakeholder support, TAPS (along with APPA and others) joins EEI comments filed May 10, 2010.
Transmission Relay Loadability (RM08-13)
- In response to FERC’s March 18, 2010 final rule, which provided some relief from the NOPR, but retained serious shortcomings, TAPS, joined by APPA and NRECA, seek rehearing on April 19, 2010.
- September 9, 2010 TAPS comments to NERC on SAR for revisions to PRC-023 to comply with TRL final rule.
July 6, 2010 Reliability Technical Conference (AD10-14)/NERC Three-Year Assessment (RR09-7)/November 18, 2010 Technical Conference on Reliability Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance Issues (AD11-1)
- May 26, 2010 TAPS, in a joint filing with APPA, EEI, EPSA, LPPC, and NRECA, supports NERC’s May 13, 2010 request that FERC Staff issue a preliminary assessment of the July 2009 Three-Year Assessment.
- July 26, 2010 TAPS files comments regarding the Reliability Technical Conference, opposing creation of an “executive forum,” which was proposed at the July 6, 2010 technical conference.
- July 28, 2010 Terry Huval, TDU member of the Member Representatives Committee, submits policy input to the NERC Board of Trustees opposing the “executive forum.”
- After FERC’s September 16, 2010 Three-Year Assessment Order instituted additional technical conferences in lieu of the CEO forum, Doug Curry (LES) speaks for TAPS at the November 18, 2010 Technical Conference.
Standards Process Manual (RR10-12)
- March 12, 2010 TAPS comments to NERC on revisions to standards development process.
- July 12, 2010 TAPS, in a joint filing with APPA, EEI, EPSA, LPPC, and NRECA, intervenes at FERC in support of NERC’s Standards Process Manual filed June 10, 2010, which was approved with minimal changes on September 3.
Cyber Asset Identification
- February 12, 2010 TAPS submits informal comments to NERC on CIP-002-4.
Other Comments to NERC and NAESB
- August 18, 2010 TAPS comments to NERC on CAN-0006 for EOP-005-1 R7.
- April 28, 2010 TAPS comments to NERC on March 16, 2010 proposed ROP changes.
- January 15, 2010 TAPS comments on WECC BES definition.
FERC (Non-Reliability Initiatives)
Transmission Planning Processes Under Order 890 (AD09-8)/Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation by Transmission Owning and Operating Public Utilities (RM10-23)
- TAPS files NOPR comments on September 29, 2010.
Transparency/EQR NOI (RM10-12)
- March 30, 2010 TAPS files comments, urging exemptions for small systems and transactions between JAAs or G&Ts and their members.
RTO Metrics (AD10-5)
- TAPS files initial comments on March 5, 2010 and reply comments on March 19, 2010 on FERC’s February 3, 2010 proposed RTO/ISO Performance Metrics.
Capacity Reallocation (RM10-22)
- On July 6, 2010, TAPS files comments opposing FERC’s April 29, 2010 NOPR to permanently lift cap on transmission capacity reassignments (including affiliates) and to invite other reforms to promote reassignment.
Standards of Conduct for Transmission Providers (RM07-1)
- In response to FERC’s April 16, 2010 issuance of Order 717-C, which confuses the treatment of employees that conduct system impact studies, TAPS seeks clarification or rehearing on May 17, 2010.
Market-Based Rates for Public Utilities (RM04-7/RM10-20)
- After FERC on April 15, 2010 (at TAPS’ urging) denies motion for clarification that would have weakened affiliate abuse protections in MBR context and initiates a new NOPR, TAPS files supporting comments onJune 21, 2010.
Control Requirements for MBR and Mergers (EL08-87/PL09-3/RM09-16)
- In response to FERC’s January 21, 2010 NOPR to relax assumptions on control requirements for MBR and mergers, on March 29, 2010 TAPS files comments urging strengthened protections.
- April 22, 2010 TAPS (joined by APPA and NRECA) submits reply comments.
Variable Energy Resources NOI (RM10-11)
- On April 12, 2010, TAPS files limited comments on FERC’s January 21, 2010 NOI.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
In rulemaking proceedings and other advocacy activities at the Commodities Futures Trading Commission associated with implementing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act with respect to the regulation of energy “swaps,” TAPS has supported APPA’s participation in the “Not-For-Profit Electric End User Coalition” and the positions taken by that coalition.