Bernstein Shur attorney and former Maine Public Utilities Commissioner, David Littell Quoted in Utility Dive
Courtesy: Utility Dive
Appeals court partly strikes down FERC approval of ISO New England winter reliability program
Utility Dive(June. 21, 2022) — A federal appeals court partly struck down the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of a plan to pay power plant owners in New England an incentive to have three-days worth of on-site fuel during two upcoming winters.
In a 3-1 vote, FERC in 2020 approved ISO-NE’s IEP, a program designed to steer about $150 million a year to certain types of power plants in New England during the winters of 2023-24 and 2024-25. The two-year program aimed to improve grid reliability by offering an incentive for power plants to have on-site fuel while ISO-NE developed a long-term, market solution to bolstering reliability in the winter.
ISO-NE has been struggling to make sure it has adequate winter-time power supplies since the polar vortex of 2014, according to David Littell, a Bernstein Shur attorney and former Maine Public Utilities Commission commissioner.
“The decade of disagreements between FERC, ISO-NE, [the New England Power Pool,] and the state commissions points out that our ISO New England markets are not producing electrical supply that is sufficient, reliable, or for that matter clean,” Littell said in an email.
New England consumers have made billions of dollars in capacity payments for a system that largely relies on natural gas, but gas prices are rising due to supply constraints from the Russian invasion of Ukraine and increased U.S. liquefied natural gas exports, Littell noted.
“New England customers will be paying for the over-reliance on gas this winter – electricity supply prices this January could reach almost 10 times the cost of a decade ago, back when gas was ‘cheap,’” Littell said.