Interested parties ask for information and clarification.
 
 
Y'all want to know what I think about the PJM - MD PSC thing?  Yeah, I know, but first we're going to take a little side trip into another, less publicized, decision handed down yesterday.  Why?  Schadenfreude.  And it makes me laugh!

This turned up on a news feed
FirstEnergy Corp. was handed a loss in federal court on Monday after a judge agreed to dismiss a complaint alleging that a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission decision preventing the company from charging customers for $230 million worth of electricity lost during transmission ran afoul of federal law.

U.S. District Court Judge James Gardner dismissed the complaint — which challenged a 2010 PUC decision that found that so-called line losses were properly characterized as a cost of power generation that could not be recouped through additional transmission...

Want to read the rest?  Get a subscription.

Or I'll summarize for you, because I used FirstEnergy's legal whining in this case in my FERC complaint last year.  FirstEnergy lost in that instance too.

The Pennsylvania PUC denied recovery of electricity loss charges they categorized as generation charges.  FirstEnergy insisted they were transmission line loss charges under FERC's jurisdiction, and therefore the PA PUC was forbidden to do anything other than pass them through to customers unscathed because the PUC does not have jurisdiction over transmission charges.

Meanwhile, FirstEnergy was using its other puppet hand to tell FERC that transmission charges of its PATH subsidiary were state jurisdictional and that challengers had no standing to pursue them under FERC's jurisdiction.

So, FirstEnergy lost their argument at FERC.  And then they lost their argument at the PA PUC.  Looks like FirstEnergy is wrong about everything.  Maybe they can take it out of Tony's paycheck... for the next 10 years.

Ha hahahahahahahahahaaaaa!
 
 
Last week, PATH held its "Open Meeting" to discuss its 2012 transmission revenue requirement true up and answer questions from interested parties.  Well, at least that's what the meeting notice said...

However, PATH couldn't (or wouldn't) answer questions, instead PATH made crap up.  Randy's never going to learn, is he?

Emboldened by a question from one participant about the cost of legal counsel to defend the formal challenges, Randy answered a question about how PATH-Allegheny could have possibly had 5.1 full-time employees on an abandoned project in 2012 by telling everyone that "most" of that time was spent answering information requests about its formula rate filings.

Let's see, Randy, 5.1 full-time employees at 2080 hours each equals 10,608 hours spent answering 270 individual questions, "most" of which PATH refused to answer because they were alleged to be harassing, oppressive, annoying and burdensome.  That equals 39.28 hours per question, including those where a refusal to answer was merely copied and pasted into PATH's response.  That's nearly a work week.  It took PATH one full work week to answer each question?

Right.

Stop making crap up when you're talking to accountants, okay?

And when given the opportunity to answer questions informally over the phone during the Open Meeting and save all those work hours in 2013?  PATH refused and asked interested parties to submit written information requests.
 
 
We were right.  About everything.

That is all.
 
 
Keryn and Ali filed a third Formal Challenge to PATH's rates at FERC today.  The previous two Challenges, which were granted in part and set for settlement and hearing by FERC last fall, covered PATH's spending in 2009 and 2010.  The Challenge filed today covers PATH's 2011 expenses. 

Remember, the project wasn't put into abeyance until Feb. 28, 2011, and then PATH had the rest of the year to wind down its unneeded project and wallow in the financial and logistical mess it had made.

The total of this third challenge is $4.4M, and when added to the $5.7M set for hearing in the previous challenges, the amount challenged totals more than $10 million dollars.  What could you have done instead with that $10M?

The Challengers ask for the Commission to grant the Challenge and consolidate it with the existing Challenges, which were consolidated with PATH's abandonment.

We do hope you enjoyed your April Fool's day as much as we did...
 
 
What was it I said last week?  It's going to get worse, much worse?

Tammy "something extra" has now listed all but one of PATH's River's Edge properties in Loudoun County for sale.  Here's how much these deals will cost you, assuming PATH receives full list price for the properties (which is never going to happen).

PATH purchased this property in February 2009 for $689,000, 98% of Loudoun County's assessed fair market value at that time.  It's on sale today for only $630,000.

PATH purchased this property in April of 2009 for $418,000, 102% of Loudoun County's assessed fair market value at that time.  It's on sale today for only $400,000.

PATH purchased this property in April of 2009 for $910,000, 110% of Loudoun County's assessed fair market value at that time.  It's on sale today for only $735,900.

And the big, big loser is this property that PATH purchased in March 2009 for $1,175,000, 246% of Loudoun County's assessed fair market value at that time.  It's on sale today for only $459,000.

Looks like Loudoun County's assessor was a lot more accurate about fair market values than PATH's appraiser back in 2009.  But yet PATH expects ratepayers to pay the difference between purchase and sale price and make the company whole.  Right now, the difference between PATH's purchase prices in River's Edge and their current list prices amounts to $1,021,300.  That's over a million dollars that ratepayers stand to lose on PATH's unnecessary and premature "investment" in real estate, and there's still one PATH-owned River's Edge property that has yet to hit the market, for which PATH paid 123% of market value in 2009.  Ouchies, little ratepayers, ouchies!!!

Let's take a look back at PATH's antics in River's Edge.  Now PATH adds insult to injury of these homeowners and dumps a whole bunch of real estate in their neighborhood at bargain basement prices, which is going to have a significant effect on their own home value and equity.  PATH -- the gift that just keeps on giving.

And PATH is so not done yet... they've still got to unload those substation properties they purchased for millions more than fair market value.  Get out your wallet, little ratepayer...
 
 
PATH properties.... get yer PATH properties... in the market for some dirt-cheap but poorly maintained real estate, or maybe some completely useless land with a burned out trailer or falling down shack?  PATH's real estate agent can help you with that, and she "offers something extra!"  I can't imagine what that "something extra" might be, but I'm sorta frightened by the offer.

PATH went ahead and listed some of its property for sale, despite the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's November 30, 2012 Order that set the disposal of property for hearing:

"Because PATH has not completed the sale and transfers of land and other assets, we cannot determine based on the record whether self-dealing or cross-subsidization will occur as a result of these future transfers to  affiliates, and whether the proposed prices for sales to third parties are reasonable. As part of the hearing and settlement proceedings, we therefore direct parties to consider the reasonableness of such transfers and sales, including whether future transfers and sales of real property should be reported in periodic reports that identify the parties, date and price of each transaction. Parties in the hearing and settlement proceedings may also consider whether the formula rate should be modified to include such information, which would allow review of the asset sales and transfers under the  formula rate annual update process."


So, how "reasonable" are PATH's "fair market value" sale prices compared to "fair market value" amounts PATH spent purchasing each property?

PATH purchased this property for $50,000 in April of 2010.  It's on sale today for only $9,000!

PATH purchased this property for $64,000 in April of 2009.  It's on sale today for only $12,000!

PATH purchased this property for $307,185 in March of 2009.  It's on sale today for only $229,900!

Let's add up the difference between PATH's purchase price and PATH's sale price, because that is the amount PATH wants YOU to pay for its little unnecessary and overly generous property buying spree:  $170,285!  Even if PATH sells these properties at list, that's how much of a loss PATH expects ratepayers to absorb for just these three properties.  And it's going to get worse, much worse.

Bargain basement prices for unneeded properties - get yer worthless PATH properties today - and if you find out what Tammy's "something extra" is, do let us know.
 
 
Read PATH's Answer to Alison Haverty's complaint.  PATH has now "invited" us to this meeting, although they still insist we're not "interested parties."  They also want FERC to dismiss the complaint as moot.  But I would guess that Alison may feel differently.

PATH's little game of trying to intimidate consumers has backfired.  They have no defense. Last year, FERC tossed out all the precedent PATH (mis)used in earlier filings as support for their contention that consumers are not "interested parties."

Looks like the breakfast meeting on my patio will go on July 18 at 10:00 a.m. as planned.   Please submit your basis for eligibility to breathe my air and drink my coffee no later than the night before the meeting. ;-)
 
 
As stipulated in its federal Formula Rate that allows PATH to recover the cost of their project from over 60 million ratepayers in 13 states and the District of Columbia, PATH is obligated by certain rules crafted to provide rate transparency.  These obligations are stipulated in PATH's PJM OATT Tariff Protocols, Attachment H-19B.

One of PATH's obligations is to hold an "Open Meeting" among interested parties after the filing of each yearly Actual Transmission Revenue Requirement and Projected Transmission Revenue Requirement.

On June 1, PATH filed their ATRR for 2011.  This filing compares the actual expenditures to PATH's estimate collected during 2011, and produces the actual rate consumers pay.  As required by the Protocols, PATH posted an announcement of the meeting.  As directed in the notice, several interested parties (as defined in the Protocols) submitted their RSVP for the meeting.

Compare the tone of PATH's Notice of Open Meeting to that of another company who is following the exact same rule in its own Formula Rate Protocols.  While PATH's meeting is held only over the telephone, Dominion's meeting is held both at their facility and over the telephone, for those who don't want to travel to Richmond.  Dominion asks for 4 days notice of participant's attendance, while PATH demands you RSVP 5 days in advance, or you will not be permitted to "attend" and will not be provided the call-in information that Dominion freely provides in its Notice.  Paranoid much, PATH?

As if the Frau Farbissina tone of PATH's Notice isn't bad enough already, PATH sent the following email notice to certain interested parties, who had sent in their RSVPs weeks earlier, on June 24:

"The open meeting conference call that Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline, LLC ("PATH") will hold on July 18, 2012, to explain and clarify its Annual Update is to provide Interested Parties an opportunity to seek information and clarification concerning the Annual Update. Under Section I.H of the Protocols, an  "Interested Party" means  "An entity that is or may become a customer taking transmission service under [the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. Open Access Transmission Tariff], a state public utility commission or state consumer advocate agency in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey or the District of Columbia, or any entity having standing under Section 206 of the Federal Power Act."
It is not clear that you meet the definition of Interested Party under the Protocols. Please provide a response to this email by June 19, 2012 stating the basis for your status as an "Interested Party" under the Protocols."

PATH has yet to respond to any of the parties who tried (in vain, judging from PATH's impossible deadline) to provide the required information.  PATH is erecting additional hurdles for certain interested parties by requiring them to plead their case to PATH.  PATH has appointed itself adjudicator of consumers' rights to participate in the setting of rates that they are required to pay.

PATH's behavior is especially egregious in light of FERC's findings in PATH's request to change the definition of "interested party" in its Protocols last year.  As certain parties contended in that case, PATH's proposal to change the definition was a not-so-cleverly disguised attempt to exclude certain parties who have participated in the review of PATH's Formula Rate and filed Challenges in the past.  Because PATH has been caught with its hand in the cookie jar and has no logical defense, they simply seek to exclude parties who may take notice and challenge ongoing fraud.

Interested party Alison Haverty has apparently grown tired of PATH's heavy-handed attempts to disenfranchise consumers and filed a Complaint against PATH at FERC (Docket No. EL12-79).  PATH has 8 days to answer Alison's complaint.

UPDATE:  FERC has issued a Notice of Complaint setting a very short intervention, comment, protest and answer deadline.  All filings are due by 5:00 p.m. July 5.  If you want to participate, you'd best get crackin'.  It looks like FERC wants to get this over with well before the July 18 meeting.



 
 
PATH has requested that both the National Park and Forest Services continue to hold their application review process "in abeyance" until approximately 60 days after the 12th of Never, or whenever PJM finally makes a decision, whichever comes first.

"In order to accommodate the PJM study process, while providing a measure of certainty for both the PATH Companies and the NPS, the PATH Companies respectfully request that the NPS continue to hold its application review in abeyance until 60-days after the PJM Board issues a further decision on the status of the PATH Project. Promptly after being advised of such further decision by the PJM Board, the PATH Companies will notify the NPS of that decision and, within such 60-day period, submit a further request to the NPS with regard to the pending applications."

According to the letter, PJM is not expected to make a decision until sometime AFTER May 2012.

"As indicated by the PJM Staff report, additional analysis will be undertaken after completion of the May 2012 forward capacity auction results. The time required by PJM Staff to perform such analysis thereafter is not yet
known."

You're not really surprised, are you?  This is exactly what I expected would happen after Order No. 1000 was issued, delaying the retooling of PJM's planning process, and after PATH painted themselves into a corner in Virginia.

On April 12, 2011, Virginia State Corporation Commission Hearing Examiner Alexander Skirpan issued his report and recommendations on the March 17 hearing regarding PATH's withdrawal of its application in that state.  In his report, Skirpan recommended that certain conditions be placed on the filing of a new application for the project in Virginia.  One of these conditions was that the application must be based on a completed 2012 RTEP, which won't be issued until first quarter 2013.  The Virginia Commission's Order included this stipulation.

Word is that the NPS/NFS are considering PATH's request.  No decision date has been indicated.

The only "certainty" being provided here is that every year this drags on, PATH makes another $13M in pure profit, courtesy of their FERC formula rate and incentives.  There is no motivation for them to ever restart this project -- they've got $130M tucked safely away in an account that earns 12.4% profit every year.  What a sweet deal! 

All PATH's profits come directly from your pocket in the form of higher and higher electric bills.

Your orchestra has begun composing a new tune... so check back later for more on this subject.