Montana regulators challenge sweeping FERC transmission rule

Source: By Catherine Morehouse, E&E News • Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The rule outlines the process where a transmission provider determines project benefits and allocates costs to ratepayers whose benefits exceed the costs.

The Montana Public Service Commission filed a challenge against FERC’s sweeping transmission rule that asks grid operators and utilities to plan ahead for infrastructure in an effort to build new power lines more efficiently.

The Montana agency, which regulates utility spending on new power grid infrastructure in the state, largely echoed concerns raised by GOP lawmakers and Republican FERC Commissioner Mark Christie that the rule will leave ratepayers bearing the costs of Democratic state policies that mandate adoption of renewable resources.

The state PSC also argued that FERC should revisit “voluntary state agreements” that allow states to opt out of paying for a given power line.

The FERC rule lays out a process where a transmission provider determines the benefits that a given transmission project could provide to customers and allocates costs to ratepayers whose benefits from the project exceed the costs.