What they really mean is that they haven't been successful in subverting state authority so that they can site money-making new transmission projects. Last fall, DOE & FERC, assisted by industry lobbyists, cooked up a scheme to federalize transmission siting. They got caught and slapped by the states and members of Congress, and supposedly dropped their plan to give authority to designate NIETCs to FERC. However, the plan lives on.
The 2012 "congestion study" now underway can best be summed up by this quote:
"The effect of the new plan would be to allow transmission developers or other industry participants to propose transmission congestion responses that would be incorporated into DOE-designated corridors."
In other words... allowing greedy corporations to tell them where they wish to site a transmission line, and then DOE will designate a "congestion corridor" to go along with the corporation's proposal.
DOE - not the brightest bulb in the string...
"It was euphoric for me to be with the regulators and see the light bulbs go off when they realized some of the information they hadn't been getting," she said. "This process helped to give them that data."