Texas PUC Staff Recommend Dismissal Of Aspire Complaint On May ERCOT Price Spike Caused By QSE Input Error
August 23, 2019 Email This Story Copyright 2010-19 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
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Staff of the Public Utility Commission of Texas ("Staff") have recommended that the Commission dismiss a complaint filed by Aspire Commodities, LLC ("Aspire") against ERCOT, in which Aspire has sought an order directing ERCOT to re-price the published settlement prices for interval 14:50 on May 30, 2019
Aspire has alleged that the event which led to the spike, a Qualified Scheduling Entity (Calpine) wrongly setting the HSL and LSL levels for certain generation it represented at 0, does not reflect a valid market solution (see details here). The input error led prices for the interval to reach $9,000 per MWh. ERCOT issued a market notice on May 30, 2019 stating that it would not be performing a price correction for interval 14:50
As previously reported, ERCOT had moved to dismiss the complaint on procedural and policy grounds (see details here)
Staff, in a filing responding to ERCOT's motion to dismiss, noted that ERCOT contends in its motion to dismiss that, under 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) § 22.181(d)(1), Aspire's complaint should be dismissed because the Commission lacks jurisdiction over Aspire's complaint. Specifically, ERCOT contends that Aspire has not fulfilled the prerequisites of filing a complaint with the Commission under 16 TAC § 22.251.
"Staff agrees with ERCOT," Staff said in its filing.
Staff wrote, "As stated in 16 TAC § 22.251(c), '[a]n entity must use Section 20 of the ERCOT Protocols (Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedures, or ADR) or Section 21 of the Protocols (Process for Protocol Revision), or other Applicable ERCOT Procedures, before presenting a complaint to the [C]ommission. . . .' Otherwise, the ALJ may dismiss the complaint or abate it to allow the complainant to fulfill the prerequisites of filing the complaint."
Staff wrote, "As ERCOT discusses in its Motion to Dismiss, Section 20 of the ERCOT Protocols require Aspire to request ADR. Specifically, Section 20.1 states '[e]xcept as otherwise provided in Section 20, Alternative Dispute Resolution Procedure, this Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) procedure applies to any claim by a Market Participant that ERCOT has violated or misinterpreted any law, including any statute, rule, Protocol, Other Binding Document, or Agreement, where such a violation or misinterpretation results in actual harm, or could result in imminent harm, to the Market Participant.' In Aspire's complaint, Aspire contends that ERCOT violated Protocol 6.3(4) and that Protocol 6.3(4) required ERCOT to re-price the interval as a result of an invalid market solution."
Staff wrote, "In Aspire's Reply, Aspire states that Section 20 of the ERCOT Protocols is not applicable to Aspire, because Aspire is not a Market Participant, and thus, would not have been able to comply with Applicable ERCOT Procedures. If Aspire is not required to comply with Applicable ERCOT Procedures, it may present a formal complaint to the Commission under 16 TAC § 22.251(c)(1)(B) without first requesting ADR under Section 20 of the ERCOT Protocols. As ERCOT addresses in its Objection to Aspire Power's [Aspire Power Ventures] Motion to Intervene, Aspire's argument that it is not a Market Participant is an attempt to circumvent the requirement of ADR by filing its complaint as Aspire rather than Aspire Power. Aspire Power is an ERCOT Market Participant, and thus, could have complied with Section 20 of ERCOT's Protocols. Aspire also attempts to circumvent the ADR process required by Section 20 of the ERCOT Protocols by claiming that it will submit a written request for a waiver of the requirements. Under 16 TAC § 22.251(c)(2), a waiver can be granted by the Commission for good cause after a written request. Aspire contends that it has good cause for a waiver according to Aspire's Reply since Aspire is not a Market Participant. Aspire has not yet requested a written wavier and Aspire could have filed its complaint as Aspire Power. Therefore, Aspire does not meet the requirements of 16 TAC § 22.251(c)(2)."
Staff wrote, "Therefore, because Aspire failed to follow the requirements imposed by Commission rules which incorporate ERCOT Protocols, Staff requests that Aspire's complaint be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction under 16 TAC § 22.181(d)(1). Furthermore, Staff notes that Aspire's deadline to submit an ADR request to ERCOT is 45 days of the denial of the settlement and billing dispute under ERCOT Protocol Section 20.5. ERCOT issued a public notice that it would not re-price the 14:50 SCED interval at issue on May 30, 2019. Therefore, the 45-day deadline required Aspire to request ADR by July 15, 2019. Since the 45-day timeline has run, Staff requests a dismissal of Aspire's complaint rather than abatement to re-file the complaint."
"Staff respectfully requests entry of an order consistent with the above discussion," Staff wrote