Several years ago, the same court and same judge ruled that FERC and PJM had not done enough to justify the RTO's postage stamp cost socialization scheme.
In October of 2009, the Court remanded the rate methodology back to FERC, finding that the Commission had not provided sufficient record evidence to justify its findings that the existing allocation practice for new facilities at and above 500 kV was unjust and unreasonable, and the Commission had not adequately supported its conclusion that the postage-stamp methodology was just and reasonable. The court found that the Commission’s reliance on the difficulty of measuring benefits for above 500 kV facilities, and the resulting likelihood of litigation, failed to justify the Commission’s decision. The court stated that the Commission had failed to show “the absence of any indication that the difficulty exceeds that of measuring benefits to particular utilities of a smaller-capacity transmission line.” The court further found that the Commission failed to justify requiring PJM to adopt a region-wide, postage-stamp cost allocation methodology for new transmission facilities that operate at or above 500 kV.
This means that all MISO ratepayers will continue to be charged for new transmission to support the integration and export of utility scale, centralized renewables, and FERC must take another look at allowing MISO to charge ratepayers in the neighboring PJM region for a portion of new transmission built entirely in the MISO region.
Forcing ratepayers to subsidize the building of new transmission to the exclusion of other cheaper, localized, and more reliable energy choices effects a forced preference for "big wind" on the energy-consuming public.
Big wind and MISO's broad socialization of its costs are the darlings of the court. What a difference the color of an electron makes!
PJM's broadly socialized postage stamp rates were all about allocating the costs of new transmission to transport coal-fired electricity. MISO's broadly socialized MVP rates are all about allocating the costs of new transmission to transport "big wind." What's the difference?
The judge's personal preferences come through loud and clear in this decision. He even quotes the opinion of utility mouthpiece Matt Wald in his ruling. When a court quotes an internet blog, that's when you know for sure that its ruling is based on conjecture, and may not withstand further scrutiny.
There's one thing this decision fails to acknowledge, however, and that's the power of the people. Planning and building the new MVP transmission lines has attracted the attention and ire of thousands of landowners and ratepayers nationwide who object to the thoughtless and inefficient preclusion of smart energy choices that compulsion to sacrifice land and energy investment dollars committing to long-term transmission assets achieves. These citizens are coming together in record numbers and will not be silenced. A citizen-directed energy revolution is under way!
Stay tuned... more federal court shenanigans coming up soon with news about a case recently filed a little closer to home...