Wellinghoff confirms that there are two outstanding matters currently pending. One is the rehearing that's been going on regarding PATH's 14.3% ROE. Don't bother looking at the settlement judge's report referenced, it merely says that settlement is ongoing, it doesn't give any details. You're going to have to wait for the order to come out to read any of that. The amount PATH is going to cost you isn't public information right now.
The other is the Formal Challenge, submitted back in January, which "alleges imprudence, fraud, and improper accounting by booking costs to more than one FERC Account."
These are things we already know (although I don't recall using the word "fraud" anywhere in the complaint -- that must be FERC's characterization).
If PATH is canceled or withdrawn, they can request recovery of 100% of the cost of their abandoned project, one of the incentives granted to them back in 2008 to "promote transmission investment through pricing reform."
We know that too.
Wellinghoff tells Bartlett that cancellation or withdrawal is up to PJM. PJM is a cartel of energy companies whose impartiality has been questioned.
However, this paragraph is interesting:
"Regarding your question concerning changing the end point of the PATH transmission line and its affect on the rate, please note that with respect to rates, Order No. 679 provides guidelines for review of transmission rate incentives if the design of a transmission project changes materially. Specifically, when an applicant files to recover the incentive in its rates from a changed project, other interested persons may challenge that filing at that time, and those other interested persons may also file a complaint."
You know, the PATH project that received the incentives back in 2008, based on its former inclusion in PJM's RTEP and its fix for reliability issues that have since disappeared, has been reconfigured. The original PATH project consisted of a 765kV line from Amos to Bedington and two 500kV lines from Bedington to the "Doubs" substation in Kemptown, MD.
Is Wellinghoff insinuating that someone should file a complaint and make all the recent comments on the docket official?
Wellinghoff says that a public meeting is only necessary when the Commission needs to supplement the record. He doesn't get it. Bartlett's requested meeting is for an increasingly irate public to have their questions answered, not for the Commission's benefit. Instead, FERC wants to remain ensconced in their ivory tower and leave public servants like Bartlett in the line of fire from disgruntled consumers. How many times and in how many ways can you blow off a Congressman before he gets offended? I guess we'll find out.
Wellinghoff advises that FERC has no authority over siting and therefore cannot answer the questions about property values. That is true.
Let's end with this: "the Commission's role in this type of proceeding is mostly limited to regulating the transmission rates associated with proposed facilities..."
Indeed. I think that was Representative Bartlett's point.