FERC, NARUC unveil formation of federal/state task force on transmission

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) on June 18 announced the formation of a joint federal-state task force on electric transmission, which FERC established through a related order issued at its monthly meeting.

“Members of this first-of-its-kind task force will explore transmission-related issues to identify and realize the benefits that transmission can provide, while ensuring that the costs are allocated efficiently and fairly,” FERC and NARUC said.

FERC’s order asks NARUC to nominate up to 10 state regulators to join FERC commissioners on the task force.  All task force meetings will be open to the public and will use a dedicated FERC docket for this process to provide stakeholders and the public with the opportunity to comment for the record.

Specifically, the task force will seek to identify barriers that inhibit planning and development of optimal transmission necessary to achieve federal and state policy goals, as well as potential solutions to those barriers, explore potential bases for one or more states to use FERC-jurisdictional transmission planning processes to advance their policy goals, including multi-state goals and explore opportunities for states to voluntarily coordinate to identify, plan and develop regional transmission solutions.

It will also review FERC rules and regulations regarding planning and cost allocation of transmission projects and potentially identify recommendations for reforms and examine barriers to the efficient and expeditious interconnection of new resources through the FERC-jurisdictional interconnection processes, as well as potential solutions to those barriers.

In addition, the task force will discuss mechanisms to ensure that transmission investment is cost effective, including approaches to enhance transparency and improve oversight of transmission investment including, potentially, through enhanced federal-state coordination.