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132 FERC ¶ 61,160

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION

Before Commissioners: Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman;

Marc Spitzer, Philip D. Moeller,

John R. Norris, and Cheryl A. LaFleur.



Southwest Power Pool, Inc.

Docket No.

ER10-1557-000

ORDER REJECTING LARGE GENERATOR INTERCONNECTION AGREEMENT


(Issued August 24, 2010)



  1. On June 25, 2010, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP) filed a non-conforming large generator interconnection agreement (Interconnection Agreement) with the Commission. In this order, we reject the Interconnection Agreement because it does not conform to SPP’s current Commission-approved pro forma generator interconnection agreement (pro forma GIA). Therefore, we direct SPP to revise the Interconnection Agreement so that it conforms to SPP’s pro forma GIA. Henceforth, SPP should report the revised Interconnection Agreement in SPP’s quarterly reports.

    I. Background

  2. In Order No. 2003,1 the Commission required transmission providers, such as SPP, to file pro forma interconnection documents and to offer their customers interconnection service consistent with these documents. The use of pro forma documents ensures that interconnection customers are receiving non-discriminatory service, and that all interconnection customers are treated consistently and fairly. Using pro forma documents also streamlines the interconnection process by eliminating the need for an interconnection customer to negotiate the individual terms of each interconnection agreement. Pro forma documents also reduce transaction costs and eliminate the need to file interconnection agreements that conform to the pro forma template with the Commission.

  3. Conversely, the Commission requires interconnection agreements that do not conform to the pro forma interconnection agreement to be filed with the Commission. The Commission analyzes such non-conforming filings, which we do not expect to be common, to ensure that operational or other reasons make a non-conforming agreement necessary. For example, the Commission recognizes that non-conforming agreements may be necessary for a small number of interconnections with specific reliability concerns, novel legal issues, or other unique factors. Thus, a transmission provider seeking a case-specific deviation from its pro forma interconnection agreement bears a high burden to justify and explain that its changes are not merely “consistent with or superior to” the pro forma agreement, but are necessary changes.2 Because of this high standard, the Commission has rejected various types of deviations from pro forma interconnection agreements as unnecessary.3

  4. On January 29, 2010, SPP submitted amendments to Attachment V of the SPP tariff pro forma interconnection procedures, and as a result, Attachment V now contains the interconnection procedures for both small generators (20 megawatts or fewer) and large generators. This merger required deletion of the qualifier “Large” in several terms, such as “Large Generator Interconnection Procedures” and “Standard Large Generator Interconnection Agreement.” In addition, the definitions for “Large Generator Interconnection Procedures” and “Standard Large Generator Interconnection Agreement” were revised. The Commission accepted these pro forma GIA revisions effective March 31, 2010 (March 26 Order).4

  5. In addition, in Docket No. ER09-1255-000, the Commission directed SPP to modify its tariff to remove all provisions indicating that Network Resource Interconnection Service studies are performed pursuant to SPP’s Aggregate Study Process. 5 On August, 31, 2009, SPP submitted a compliance filing pursuant to this directive, which resulted in modification to article 4.1.2.2 of the pro forma GIA. The Commission accepted this pro forma GIA revision effective April 21, 2010 (April 21 Order).6

    II. The Filing

  6. In the Interconnection Agreement at issue here, SPP proposes to use its now-superseded pro forma large generator interconnection agreement, which does not include the revisions that the Commission accepted in the March 26 Order and the April 21 Order. SPP states that the Interconnection Agreement was already being negotiated before the Commission issued the March 26 Order and the April 21 Order. SPP explains that consequently, article 4.1.2.2 of the Interconnection Agreement does not conform to its current pro forma GIA. SPP also states that the Interconnection Agreement still contains the word “Large” before the terms “Generator Interconnection Procedures,” “Generating Facility, and “Standard Generator Interconnection Agreement.” Similarly, SPP notes that throughout the Interconnection Agreement, the parties refer to the agreement as the “LGIA” instead of the “GIA.” In addition, SPP states that the Interconnection Agreement contains the definitions for “Standard Large Generator Interconnection Procedures” and “Standard Large Generator Interconnection Agreement” instead of the definitions for “Generator Interconnection Procedures” and “Generator Interconnection Agreement.”

  7. SPP asserts that the language that differs from the current pro forma GIA is non-substantive, and that the Commission should accept the Interconnection Agreement based on the earlier pro forma large generator interconnection agreement version as just and reasonable.7

  8. SPP explains that the Interconnection Agreement contains other non-conforming provisions. Specifically, SPP states that article 2.2 indicates that the Interconnection Agreement will remain in effect for a period of 30 years, instead of for 10 years, as its pro forma GIA provides. SPP contends that this change is consistent with article 2.2 of its pro forma GIA, which allows parties to specify that the term of a GIA may exceed 10 years.8

  9. SPP further explains that the appendices of the Interconnection Agreements contain many routine provisions that the Commission previously determined “do not deviate from the pro forma [large generator interconnection agreement], but merely imbue the . . . [large generator interconnection agreement] with information the pro forma large generator interconnection agreement already contemplates will be incorporated.”9 However, SPP contends that the Interconnection Agreement includes a non-conforming note at the beginning of Appendix A specifying that in the event that other interconnection customers suspend, terminate, or request unexecuted filings of their interconnection agreements, additional studies may be required that could result in changes to the interconnection customers’ interconnection facilities and network upgrades, as well as to the interconnection customers’ cost obligations for those facilities. SPP states that the purpose of this note is to inform the interconnection customer of

    conditions that may lead to restudies. SPP notes that the Commission previously has



    accepted other interconnection agreements submitted by SPP with similar notes.10

  10. Finally, SPP requests that the Commission accept the Interconnection Agreement effective as of June 10, 2010.

    III. Notice of Filings and Responsive Pleadings

  11. Notice of SPP’s filing was published in the Federal Register, 75 Fed. Reg. 39,226 (2010), with interventions and protests due on or before July 16, 2010. NextEra Energy Resources, LLC filed a timely motion to intervene.

    IV. Discussion

    A. Procedural Matters

  12. Pursuant to Rule 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure, 18 C.F.R. § 385.214 (2010), the timely unopposed motion to intervene serves to make the entities that filed them parties to the proceeding.

    B. Substantive Issues

  13. We reject SPP’s request to accept the Interconnection Agreement with language that does not conform to SPP’s current pro forma GIA, which reflects the revisions that the Commission accepted in the March 26 Order and the April 21 Order. While the Interconnection Agreement may have been in the course of negotiations before these modifications were accepted, the Interconnection Agreement was executed after the revisions to the pro forma GIA were accepted.11 Moreover, SPP’s reliance on the letter order issued in Docket No. ER09-1330-00012 is unpersuasive because, as an unpublished delegated letter order, it does not constitute legal precedent binding on the Commission.13 Therefore, we direct SPP to revise the Interconnection Agreement so that it conforms to SPP’s current pro forma GIA.14

  14. Changing the Interconnection Agreement so that it is consistent with SPP’s current pro forma GIA will not result in any material change to the Interconnection Agreement. As SPP points out, article 2.2 of the pro forma GIA already contemplates the possibility that the term of such agreements may remain in effect for a period other than 10 years, providing that: “[T]his GIA shall remain in effect for a period of ten (10) years from the Effective Date or such other longer period as Interconnection Customer may request (Term to be specified in individual agreements) . . . .” Therefore, we find that the provision of the Interconnection Agreement that states that it will remain in effect for 30 years is not a deviation from the pro forma GIA. Rather, this provision is merely a specification of this individual agreement that is expressly considered and allowed by the provisions of the pro forma GIA. As such, it does not require further Commission approval.

  15. Similarly, we find that the provision added to Appendix A does not deviate from SPP’s pro forma GIA, but merely imbues the Interconnection Agreement with greater detail regarding the need for additional studies that may be required and that could result in changes to the interconnection customer’s interconnection facilities and network upgrades if other interconnection customers suspend, terminate, or request unexecuted filings of the generator interconnection agreements. This provision merely specifies what is required by SPP’s pro forma generator interconnection procedures and therefore does not render the Interconnection Agreement non-conforming.

  16. For reasons stated above, the Commission rejects the Interconnection Agreement and directs SPP to revise the Interconnection Agreement so that it conforms to SPP’s current pro forma GIA. A generator interconnection agreement that conforms to SPP’s pro forma GIA must be reported only in SPP’s quarterly transaction reports, and no further Commission action is required.15 Accordingly, we require that, after SPP has revised the Interconnection Agreement pursuant to the directives in this order, it should be included as a conforming agreement in SPP’s quarterly transaction reports.16

    The Commission orders:

    (A) The Commission hereby rejects the Interconnection Agreement and directs SPP to revise the Interconnection Agreement to conform to SPP’s current pro forma GIA, as discussed in the body of this order.

    (B) The Commission directs SPP to include the revised Interconnection Agreement in its quarterly transaction reports as a conforming agreement.


By the Commission.
( S E A L )

Kimberly D. Bose,



Secretary.

1 Standardization of Generator Interconnection Agreements and Procedures, Order No. 2003, FERC Stats. & Regs., Regulations Preambles 2001-2005 ¶ 31,146 (2003), order on reh'g, Order No. 2003-A, FERC Stats. & Regs., Regulations Preambles 2001-2005 ¶ 31,160, order on reh'g, Order No. 2003-B, FERC Stats. & Regs., Regulations Preambles 2001-2005 ¶ 31,171 (2004), order on reh'g, Order No. 2003-C, FERC Stats. & Regs., Regulations Preambles 2001- 2005 ¶ 31,190 (2005), aff'd sub nom. Nat'l Ass'n of Regulatory Util. Comm'rs v. FERC, 475 F.3d 1277 (D.C. Cir. 2007).

2 See PJM Interconnection, LLC, 111 FERC ¶ 61,163 (2005) (PJM).

3 See, e.g., MidAmerican Energy Company, 116 FERC ¶ 61,018 (2006) (rejecting non-conforming deviations including stylistic changes, clarifying phrases, and modifications to insurance provisions; rejecting deviations that were requested by the customer; and rejecting deviations that the customer asserted were necessary to reflect the positions of the parties); Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc., 111 FERC ¶ 61,121 (2005) (rejecting deviations to correct mistakes in the pro forma agreement); PJM, supra, n.2 (rejecting a one-sided indemnification provision and changes corresponding to a cancelled agreement); Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, Inc., 125 FERC ¶ 61,277 (2008) (Midwest ISO) (rejecting two interconnection agreements containing deviations that were based on previous pro forma language because new pro forma language had been accepted before the interconnection agreements were executed); and Southwest Power Pool, Inc., 132 FERC ¶ 61,062 (2010) (SPP) (rejecting two interconnection agreements containing non-conforming provisions identical to those in the Interconnection Agreement at issue here).

4 Southwest Power Pool, Inc., Letter Order, Docket No. ER10-681-000 (Mar. 26, 2010 (unpublished letter order).

5 Southwest Power Pool, Inc., 128 FERC ¶ 61,116 (2009).

6 Southwest Power Pool, Inc., 131 FERC ¶ 61,058 (2010).

7 SPP Transmittal Letter at 4, citing PJM Interconnection, LLC, Letter Order, Docket No. ER09-1330-000 (Aug. 6, 2009) (unpublished letter order) (in which the Commission accepted a non-conforming interconnection service agreement that was based on an earlier version of the pro forma interconnection service agreement that did not contain recently accepted revisions to the pro forma interconnection service agreement).

8 SPP Tariff, Attachment V, Appendix 6, article 2.2.

9 SPP Transmittal Letter at 4, quoting Southwest Power Pool, Inc., 128 FERC ¶ 61,022, at P 13 (2009); see also Southwest Power Pool, Inc., 128 FERC ¶ 61,116, at P 20 (2009), order on reh’g, Southwest Power Pool, Inc., 131 FERC ¶ 61,058 (2010).

10 SPP Transmittal Letter at 5, citing Southwest Power Pool, Inc., Letter Order, Docket No. ER09-1258-000 (July 22, 2009) (unpublished letter order); Southwest Power Pool, Inc., Letter Order, Docket No. ER09-1057-000 (June 10, 2009) (unpublished letter order).

11 The Interconnection Agreement was executed on June 10, 2010.

12 See supra n.7.

13 Idaho Power Co. 95 FERC ¶ 61,482 (2001); Cambridge Electric Light Co., 95 FERC ¶ 61,162 (2001); and Westar Energy, Inc., 124 FERC ¶ 61,090 (2008).


14 As noted above, in Midwest ISO and SPP, the Commission rejected two interconnection agreements containing deviations that were based on previous pro forma language because new pro forma language had been accepted before the interconnection agreements were executed. The Commission also directed Midwest ISO and SPP to revise the interconnection agreements so that they conform with the new pro forma agreements and required that the conforming agreements be included in the quarterly reports. See Midwest ISO 125 FERC ¶ 61,277 at P 12 and SPP, 132 FERC ¶ 61,061 at P 17.

15 See Revised Public Utility Filing Requirements, Order No. 2001, FERC Stats. & Regs., Regulations Preambles 2001-2005 ¶ 31,127, at P 7, reh’g denied, Order No. 2001-A, 100 FERC ¶ 61,074, reh’g denied, Order No. 2001-B 100 FERC ¶ 61,342, order directing filing, Order No. 2001-C, 101 FERC ¶ 61,314 (2002), order directing filing, Order No. 2001-D, 102 FERC ¶ 61,334 (2003) .

16 See supra n.14.



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