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South Carolina Public Service Authority v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

ELR Citation: 44 ELR 20197
Nos. No. 12-1232, (D.C. Cir., 08/15/2014)

The D.C. Circuit upheld FERC Order No. 1000, in which it adopted reforms to electric transmission planning and cost allocation. The order requires public utility transmission owners and operators to participate in regional transmission planning to prevent undue discrimination and preference in transmission service and to produce a regional transmission plan. Several state regulatory agencies, electric transmission providers, regional transmission organizations, and electric industry trade associations challenged FERC's authority to adopt these reforms, contending that the order is arbitrary and capricious and unsupported by substantial evidence. But the court was unpersuaded. FERC has the authority under §206 of the Federal Power Act to require transmission providers to participate in a regional planning process, and there was substantial evidence to support adoption of the reforms. FERC was also authorized to require the removal of federal rights of first refusal provisions based on its determination that they were unjust and unreasonable. FERC also had authority under §206 to require the ex ante allocation of the costs of new transmission facilities among beneficiaries. And FERC reasonably determined that regional planning must include consideration of transmission needs driven by public policy requirements. The petitions for review were therefore denied.