Deputy Consumer Advocate Calls for WV PSC to Push PJM on Rebuilding Transmission Lines

Last week, I posted links to power company responses to PSC staff attorney John Auville’s call for a full report, in thirty days, of the condition of WV’s high voltage transmission lines.

Today, Deputy Consumer Advocate Tony Sade filed his response with the PSC.  Here is the link.  Mr. Sade’s filing is a remarkable documentation of the misrepresentations by both AEP and FirstEnergy throughout the PATH process.  Mr. Sade also describes PJM’s deceitful efforts to push the PATH project down the throats of the citizens of three states.

Stakeholders were frustrated that PJM refused to their repeated requests to conduct 2010 RTEP analyses with up-to-date load data instead of data that was in some cases two years old, that PJM evaluated a PATH competitor’s constructions costs using different assumptions than PATH so that the costs were not comparable to PATH (and then used cost as a factor in rejecting the competitor), and that the additional capacity from the Mt. Storm – Doubs line was excluded from the RTEP analyses.

It was evident to participants in the RTEP process, specifically including the CAD and other state consumer advocates who had repeatedly requested such analyses, that PJM’s process was flawed: PJM’s 2010 RTEP (published in early 201 1) was based upon a 2009 load forecast and it excluded capacity auction results from May 2010.  The additional capacity from the Mt. Storm to Doubs line was never included in PJM’s 2010 RTEP.  When PJM ignored Advocate’s requests for updated analyses, the advocates then addressed their concerns to the PJM Board of Managers, requesting the Board to require PJM to perform additional analyses with updated information.  These requests also were ignored; however the requests of the VaSCC were not ignored. The VaSCC required PATH to submit such analyses using up-to-date load forecasts from late 2010 including “the most recent economic forecasts, demand response commitments, and new generation resources in the queue,”13 The VaSCC required-analyses contributed to PJM’s determination that the need for PATH was moved “several years into the future.  The significant take-away for this Commission from the above-described PJM RTEP experience is that additional analyses were performed by PJM only when the VaSCC required such analyses to be submitted.

Note the last sentence in this quote.  Mr. Sade concludes from this experience that only the East VA SCC held PJM’s feet to the fire and required the cartel and its partner power companies to provide reliable, factual information that none of them were willing to provide voluntarily.

Mr. Sade draws a vital lesson from the PATH experience concerning the need to push PJM and the WV power companies to rebuild our state’s “aging infrastructure,” high voltage transmission lines like the Pruntytown to Mt. Storm line.

…This Commission, if it deems appropriate, may also want to inform PJM of potential West Virginia transmission reconductor/rebuild projects and request that they be included in the RTEP if it determines this is warranted based upon a review of the reports requested by Staff.”

CAD agrees with Staff that this Commission should require the Reports requested by Staff in its Petition to Reopen and satisfy itself regarding not only what transmission line upgrades are important for West Virginia, but what upgrades requiring transmission lines to be out of service could be undertaken because of the advantageous timing from increased capacity and reduced load. To the extent that West Virginia can be proactive concerning necessary transmission upgrades, costly new lines may be avoided.

This is exactly what we have been saying since last winter.  The WV PSC needs to stand up for West Virginians and push PJM to do what is best for West Virginia, not what is best for Ohio power companies like AEP and FirstEnergy.

Finally, I especially liked Mr. Sade’s little dig at AEP’s Transco project.  It was icing on the cake.

Finally, APCo and Wheeling [AEP’s WV subsidiaries] hint that approval of its request for a Transco will “have an impact on the preparation of the report.  If the creation of a Transco will impede the orderly process of conducting evaluations of West Virginia transmission facilities then CAD questions whether any Transco can be deemed not to adversely affect the public interest.

Cross posted on Coalition for Reliable Power.

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