Back in September, AEP/FE filed a request for FERC to grant them $121 million of our money to cover their abandonment costs for the failed PATH transmission project. The gist of their plea was “just give us our $121 million before anyone realizes its missing, you don’t need to hold a hearing on this.” Well, it didn’t turn out that way.
Today, FERC issued its first procedural order setting the case for hearing, making it clear that AEP/FE will have to fight for every penny of the $121 million that they are trying to get from us. There will be a hearing, and AEP/FE will have to prove that every one of the costs they want from us was “prudently incurred.” This should be fun.
And, despite the fact that a lot of big shot power companies and consumer advocates and PSCs intervened in this case, the big hero was our own Keryn Newman. Keryn knows more about cost recovery at FERC than most lawyers. In her petition to intervene, she protested every category of cost in a thorough and detailed analysis. This meant that FERC had to include all of these contested costs in the upcoming hearing process. Read the FERC order at the link above. You will also see some other familiar West Virginians noted in the recitation of the history of the case so far.
Here are the key points of this FERC order:
- PATH’s costs are contested and there are facts to be determined, so there will be a full blown case
- PATH is not entitled to a jacked up return on equity for being in a regional transmission organization, because PATH’s line will never be built and will never be taken into PJM’s system, so there is no need to reward PATH for being part of PJM.
- FERC has ruled that the abandonment of the PATH project was beyond PATH’s control, although some intervenors, including this blogger, were prepared to present evidence that PATH did have control, largely because there was clear collusion between PJM, AEP and Allegheny (later FirstEnergy) starting with the Coal Love Fest right up to the collapse of the state PSC cases.
- FERC did not accept AEP/FE’s claim that Keryn’s and Ali’s Formal Challenge cases should be combined with the abandonment case.
Read the FERC order at this link. It provides a good summary of the case and gives you an idea of the utilities, citizens and state agencies involved in the case.