PUC Examiner Rules That Need For Utility PPAs For Renewable Generation Must First Be Determined Before Addressing Design, Tariffs For Proposed Utility PPAs
October 23, 2018 Email This Story Copyright 2010-17 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • firstname.lastname@example.org
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An Attorney Examiner with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has ruled that PUCO shall first determine whether there is a need for new generation at AEP Ohio, before considering specific tariff filings from AEP Ohio to procure 400 MW of new renewable energy.
As previously reported by EnergyChoiceMatters.com, AEP Ohio has petitioned the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio for approval of renewable energy purchase agreements totaling 400 MW of nameplate capacity solar energy. As more fully discussed in our prior story, AEP Ohio would recover net costs of the PPAs via the nonbypassable Renewable Generation Rider (RGR), which was approved on a placeholder basis in the company's most recent ESP case. AEP Ohio would liquidate the output of the facilities into the PJM applicable markets.
AEP Ohio had sought to consolidate consideration of its specific solar program PPA design and cost recovery tariff (the tariff cases) with a case addressing its long-term forecast report, which, among other things, addresses the need for new generation.
The Attorney Examiner granted such consolidation, but held that the consolidated case shall proceed in two phases, with the PUCO first addressing the question of the need for any new generation, and then moving onto AEP Ohio's specific design and tariff proposals.
"The attorney examiner notes ... that Ohio Adm.Code 4901:1-35-03(C)(9)(b)(i) provides that, when an electric utility in an ESP application seeks authority to impose a surcharge pursuant to R.C. 4928.143(B)(2)(c) for an electric generating facility owned or operated by the utility, the need for the proposed facility must have already been reviewed and determined by the Commission through an integrated resource planning process filed pursuant to Ohio Adm.Code 4901:5-5-05. Further, Ohio Adm.Code 4901:5-5-06(B) requires that certain information, including an integrated resource plan and a discussion of the need for additional electricity resource options, be included in the LTFR and filed by the electric utility in the forecast year prior to any filing for an allowance under R.C. 4928.143(B)(2)(c). The Commission’s rules, therefore, contemplate that the need for a proposed generating facility should generally be heard first as a distinct issue," the Attorney Examiner said
"Separately, the Commission will also consider, through its review of the electric utility’s EL-SSO or EL-RDR filing, whether all of the criteria set forth in R.C. 4928.143(B)(2)(c), including need for the facility, have been satisfied, in advance of authorizing any cost recovery through a nonbypassable surcharge," the Attorney Examiner said
"The attorney examiner, therefore, finds that it is appropriate under the circumstances to proceed initially with the review of AEP Ohio’s LTFR amendment and, separately, to address the Company’s application in the Tariff Cases. Accordingly, the consolidated cases should proceed in two phases, with the first phase to consist of a hearing on the issue of need, as set forth below. In the second phase of the consolidated proceedings, a separate hearing will be held to consider the issues raised by AEP Ohio’s application in the Tariff Cases. The attorney examiner notes that the bifurcation of the hearing process does not preclude AEP Ohio from offering its direct testimony, as submitted in support of the application in the Tariff Cases, at the hearing on the issue of need," the Attorney Examiner said
The Attorney Examiner issued a schedule for testimony and a hearing in the proceedings