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Along with more than two dozen parties, the Coalition for Fair Transmission Policy (CFTP) has filed two briefs with a federal appellate court that respond to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) legal defense of Order 1000, a final rule to reform transmission planning and cost-allocation requirements.

The coalition joined the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, utilities, trade associations and public power organizations on briefs filed Nov. 15 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

According to the CFTP, the first brief addresses cost-allocation provisions and asks that key provisions in Order 1000 be reversed.

"FERC lacks the authority to direct utilities to fund transmission developers from whom they do not take service," the brief says. "FERC's view that a utility-customer relationship is unnecessary because the entire electric grid can be treated as 'a single machine,' providing 'one service,' the costs for which can be spread grid-wide, has no precedent."

"FERC's requirement to allocate costs across the interstate grid based on undefined 'benefits' (which do not convey any right to use the facilities) further conflicts with public utilities' rights to set their rates in the first instance under the Federal Power Act (FPA)," the brief adds.

In the second brief on threshold issues, the coalition challenges FERC's assertion that Order 1000 was the last in a series of evolutionary transmission restructuring orders. "The orders constitute a regulatory sea change without grounding in the FPA or the record," the petitioners and supporting intervenors contend.

FERC's orders on regional transmission planning "usurp the role Congress expressly left" to voluntary coordination among utilities and are not based on the required "record of abuse" but on "speculation" that, without its orders, improved planning "may" not occur, according to the brief.

The brief says the commission's interpretation that FPA provisions do not restrict its planning authority "runs afoul of over a half century of precedent."

The CFTP notes that the brief also addresses the effect of Order 1000 on state utility regulators.

"FERC argues that the orders are procedural and that any effects on state decision-making are permissible. To the contrary, FERC's assertions of jurisdiction over transmission development in Order 1000 are not permissible, as they directly interfere with core state regulatory functions created by state law," the brief argues.


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