Advocates Advance Federal Transmission Planning Cost Management Proposal

LPPC, ACEG, CEBA, and NASUCA Lead Collective Effort to Balance Consumer Interests with Improved Transmission Planning

A group of diverse advocates representing public power utilities, clean energy, consumer interests, and transmission developers have joined together to advance a proposal that encourages the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to integrate cost management protocols in its final rulemaking on regional transmission planning (Docket No. RM21-17). 

The Large Public Power Council (LPPC), Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG), Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA), and the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates (NASUCA) have endorsed the proposal, designed to help ensure that large-scale regional transmission planning is managed in a way that protects consumers from unforeseen costs, improves grid reliability and efficiency, and integrates new generating resources.   

Drawing on the record in the transmission planning docket, the group’s Consensus Cost Management Proposal calls on FERC to include in its final rule the requirement that Transmission Providers propose protocols providing for cost management and critical decision-making throughout the period leading to a project’s construction in their compliance filings. These protocols would provide for reconsideration of a project where cost and benefit projections deviate substantially from those upon which projects were approved for cost allocation. This framework will help ensure that transmission, pivotal to integrating new resources and improving grid reliability, flexibility, and resilience, can be planned and built in a cost-conscious way.

“Striking a balance between advancing clean energy goals and protecting consumers from unforeseen costs is essential as FERC considers large-scale regional transmission planning.  Our Consensus Cost Management Proposal, crafted collaboratively with leading voices in clean energy advocacy and consumer interests, underscores our commitment to safeguarding public power customers from undue financial burden while accelerating the clean energy transition. By urging FERC to integrate this framework into its final transmission planning rule, we lay the groundwork for a clean, reliable, and cost-conscious electric grid that will meet the needs of public power communities today and tomorrow,” said John Di Stasio, president of LPPC.

 “We need more high-capacity transmission for households and businesses across the country to have access to reliable and affordable electricity. But we must remain mindful of the cost impact of these projects on customers. ACEG supports this proposal—and encourages FERC to integrate into its comprehensive transmission rulemaking—because it reflects a proven and balanced methodology to both protect customers from unreasonable price spikes and encourage the development of well-planned and necessary high-capacity transmission,” said Christina Hayes, executive director of ACEG.

“Energy customers need and expect grid reliability, reasonable rates, and clean energy. As we add needed clean generation to meet rapidly growing customer demand and as FERC considers a regional transmission rule to proactively and comprehensively plan for a grid system optimized for reliability, cost savings, and economic development, cost management needs to remain central to protect customers from unforeseen costs,” said Bryn Baker, senior director of market and policy innovation at CEBA.

“Consumers benefit when transmission is planned to find the lowest delivered cost of energy, and we expect the rule will direct that. But given the existence of risks and uncertainties, this additional provision can provide further consumer protection to make sure prudent investments are made on their behalf,” said Rob Gramlich, president of Grid Strategies, who helped facilitate discussions leading to the consensus.