FERC Approves PGE Tariff Change Related To Direct Access, Denies Protest Of Retail Supplier
April 17, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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FERC has approved without modification tariff revisions filed by Portland General Electric Company (Portland, or PGE) to modify Attachment N of its Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT), which applies to Retail Network Integration Transmission (NIT) Service.
According to Portland, the proposed revisions address new regulations adopted by the Public Utility Commission of Oregon (Oregon Commission) that allow new large loads that had not previously taken bundled retail service to take service from an electricity service supplier (ESS) under Oregon’s retail access service program, known as Direct Access.
Portland asserted that under the revisions it proposes to clarify that the Direct Access program is available to retail end-users where the load is either (1) transitioning from bundled retail service provided by Portland under a retail service tariff or (2) new load not previously taking bundled retail service from Portland. Portland asserted that the distinction between types of loads is important given the different transmission service issues related to the transfer of loads already on the system versus those associated with new loads not previously planned by Portland
Portland stated that it proposes to clarify the obligations of the transmission customer participating in the Direct Access program. According to Portland, the proposed revisions require participants in the Direct Access program to take Retail NIT Service from Portland under Part III of the OATT for NIT Service and Attachment N. Portland asserted that its proposed revisions ensure that any new loads choosing Direct Access comply with the same process for including those loads in NIT service as required of other NIT service customers.
Calpine Energy Solutions LLC (Calpine Solutions) filed a protest to the filing, stating that Portland should have proposed revisions to its Retail NIT Service rate under Attachment N. Calpine Solutions contends that the demand charge included in the Retail NIT Service rate is based on the average monthly non-coincidental peak demand for Direct Access customers. According to Calpine Solutions, in contrast, the demand charge for all other NIT service customers relies on the customer’s load and Portland’s system load coincident with the system peak. Calpine Solutions argues that the new Oregon regulations allowing new loads to take Retail NIT Service is akin to any new network service request and should be priced similarly to avoid discriminatory treatment among transmission customers. Calpine Solutions contends that, without assessing the same rates for Direct Access and non-Direct Access customers, there will be undue discrimination because the impact on the transmission system of a new load Direct Access customer would be the same as any new NIT service customer served by Portland, which is allocated on a coincident peak basis.
However, FERC denied the protest. FERC said that, "because Portland is not proposing a change to its existing Retail NIT Service rate and Calpine Solutions does not raise any objections to Portland’s proposed revisions, we deny Calpine Solutions’ protest with respect to the unchanged Retail NIT Service rate in Attachment N."
"Calpine Solutions argues that, to prevent undue discrimination, Portland should revise its existing Retail NIT Service rate because the Direct Access program applies to new load not previously taking service from Portland, which it asserts is similar to any new NIT Service request. However, we find Portland’s proposed revisions to include all Direct Access transmission service customers under Attachment N, with the additional clarifications to terms and conditions, to be a reasonable response to the change in Oregon Commission regulations. As noted above, Portland does not propose to change the existing Retail NIT Service rate in its filing, so we deny Calpine Solutions’ request that we do so in this proceeding," FERC said
FERC's decision is without prejudice to raising concerns about Portland’s Retail NIT Service rate in an appropriate proceeding. Portland is engaged in a pending proceeding in Docket No. EL18-109-000 regarding whether Portland’s stated transmission rate should be reduced to reflect the new 21 percent federal corporate income tax rate