"The EEI report comes as FERC is reviewing a number of complaints over transmission ROEs, where states and others are urging FERC to reduce the returns in light of lower interest rates and other factors. For instance, ISO New England and several states in the region are in dispute over what the region's base ROE should be."
EEI states that FERC must roll over and do it their way...
"Otherwise, the nation's electric utilities and their investors could divert needed capital to investments with greater returns, jeopardizing transmission reliability."
The funniest part is that EEI is still using the same lame, illogical arguments it trotted out last time when FERC was considering reforming transmission incentives, including ROE adders.
Those arguments got shredded by a bunch of nobodies.
Do you think EEI is also doing the visits from utility CEOs routine this time? I hope not. That would definitely be an ex parte no-no in this case.
"Given the numerous risks and challenges associated with developing large-scale transmission, it is critical that returns are sufficient to encourage EEI's members to focus on evaluating and building the larger, more challenging projects needed for a more robust electric grid that will provide reliability and other benefits to customers in both the short and long term," it said.
What EEI is really saying is that its members prefer to build big, risky transmission projects because those projects offer the biggest profit. The transmission cash feeding frenzy continues at ratepayer expense. There's no "benefit" for customers.
EEI "...believes the clear conclusion of governmental and regulatory bodies is that the public policy benefits of transmission investment are without dispute, and the need for greater transmission investments is clear." No, that's simply wishful thinking on EEI's part, and EEI believes that if it continues to hammer this lie on regulators and the public that they might some day come to believe it. After all...
"But the most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success."
― Adolf Hitler
And speaking of repetition, EEI trots out one of the oldest, most over-used lies about transmission:
"Investing in transmission infrastructure also provides grid resiliency, which helps to avoid major electricity
blackouts that can result in significant economic losses. For example, due to a transmission issue starting on
August 14, 2003, an estimated 50 million people in the Midwest and Northeast United States and Ontario,
Canada, experienced an area-wide blackout lasting up to four days in some areas."
The "transmission issue" was not caused by lack of sufficient, reliable transmission. It was caused by human error and lack of right-of-way maintenance on the part of utility stooge FirstEnergy. Building new transmission won't prevent another blackout, and, in fact, more interconnected transmission actually increases the risk of future blackouts over wider areas.
Now, EEI's just getting downright silly:
"As the Nation’s Demand for Reliable, Affordable Electricity Grows, EEI Members Remain
Committed to Developing the Transmission Needed to Provide Reliable Electricity."
I guess EEI missed all those news reports about tanking demand. This doesn't even deserve the 2 seconds it would take for me to find a reference link. Google it yourself.
EEI whines about the "riskiness" of projects that are approved by the regional electricity cartels, like PJM, and then subsequently proven unneeded by states and citizen opponents. The way I see it, the states and opposition groups saved us nearly $2B on wasteful construction of the PATH project, which turned out not to be "needed" after all. Quit your bellyaching, EEI -- all "risk" is heaped on the backs of consumers, who find themselves reimbursing transmission owners for cancelled projects that should never have been approved in the first place. PATH was never anything more than a $$ generator for its parent companies and it got what it deserved.
"Prior to construction, transmission projects generally are evaluated using a Commission-approved transmission planning process, which rigorously evaluates the costs and benefits of each project, assesses the forecasted changes in regional supply and demand, and considers alternative solutions such as new generation or demand-side energy-efficiency measures. Once projects are selected, they still are subject to additional evaluations as part of federal agency and state commission reviews and siting processes.
In some jurisdictions, projects also are subject to additional reviews in subsequent planning cycles and may be delayed, scaled back, or cancelled. In addition, there is a wide disparity in how different planning processes evaluate the benefits of transmission, with some jurisdictions evaluating a significant number of the benefits while others rely mainly on reliability or narrowly defined analyses. However, these reviews and benefit analyses contribute to the riskiness of developing efficient transmission projects.
Lengthy, complicated, and costly siting and permitting processes continue to be major barriers to installing new transmission lines and upgrading existing lines. Since multiple federal, state, and local government agencies often are involved in right-of-way authorizations and related environmental permitting, the lack of inter-agency coordination forms another obstacle to permitting and siting. The challenge of locating lines across states and across federal lands, coupled with targeted, strong opposition from a variety of public interest groups, make the process even more daunting. Rerouting lines occurs with regularity, which increases construction costs."
Since regulators have been loathe to restrain out-of-control IOU greed, EEI offers you this suggestion:
"Congress has not amended or taken other action to diminish the importance of transmission investment since EPAct 2005..." YET. Contact your congressional representative today and tell him/her that it's time to bring our country's energy policy in line with today's realities.