In addition to airing her jurisdictional and standing concerns, the judge said permitting retail ratepayers to file such complaints "is at odds with promoting efficiency" because FERC could be faced with handling "potentially millions of individual complainants."
The groups, however, insisted that Cintron's position is "contrary to the plain language of the FPA," which states that "any person" has standing to file a complaint with FERC, as well as long-standing commission precedent holding that retail ratepayers have standing to challenge wholesale rates.
Citing a proceeding involving the abandoned Potomac Appalachian Transmission Highline project in which FERC found that "[a] complaint regarding a transmission rate can … be filed by any person, including an end-use customer that will pay some portion of that rate when flowed through its retail bill," the groups called Cintron's attempts to distinguish that situation from AEP's "unavailing." The judge relied on differences in the two companies' formula rate protocols to make her case, but the groups argued that "standing is a statutory right under the FPA, and whatever is said in the AEP protocol cannot overturn the statute."
As for Cintron's concerns about the regulatory burden that would be placed on FERC if retail ratepayers are allowed to challenge wholesale rates, the groups insisted that "administrative convenience is not a basis to eviscerate a statutory right." They said that "[i]n any event, this is a chimera — in the nearly 20 years since the commission issued Order 888, there has been a stream but not a deluge of … rate challenges."
Finally, among other things, the groups said the "novel viewpoint" expressed by Cintron "would reopen the … regulatory gap between federal and state jurisdiction that the FPA was designed to close."
"For consumers impacted by commission-jurisdictional transmission rates, there is no other effective remedy," the groups said.
Well, here's another article about FERC's recent confusion over consumer standing to file complaints at the agency.
And there's more new filings on the Docket. (ER07-1069-006).
About the Author
Keryn Newman blogs here at StopPATH WV about energy issues, transmission policy, misguided regulation, our greedy energy companies and their corporate spin.
In 2008, AEP & Allegheny Energy's PATH joint venture used their transmission line routing etch-a-sketch to draw a 765kV line across the street from her house. Oooops! And the rest is history.