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Arizona Public Service must explain to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission why FERC should not revoke the utility’s market-based rate authority in the APS balancing authority and the Phoenix Valley load pocket, the commission said in an order issued on Oct. 3.

FERC allows power sales at market-based rates if a seller and its affiliates do not have, or have adequately mitigated, horizontal and vertical market power. With respect to horizontal market power, FERC has adopted two indicative "screens" for assessing horizontal market power: the pivotal supplier screen and the wholesale market share screen.

In its Oct. 3 order, the commission said that it found that APS passes the pivotal supplier and wholesale market share screens for the California ISO market and several balancing authority areas. FERC also said that APS satisfies its requirements for market-based rate authority regarding vertical market power in the Southwest region.

At the same time, the commission said that it wants additional information related to the Tucson Electric Power (TEP) and APS balancing authority areas and the Phoenix Valley load pocket.
 
The Phoenix Valley, which does not include Northern Arizona, includes an APS and Salt River Project integrated network and the Rogers substation, which is interconnected with two Western Area Power Administration transmission lines located in a portion of the Western Area Lower Colorado control area.
 
The Phoenix Valley is served primarily from four major extra high voltage (EHV) substations:  Westwing, Rudd, Pinnacle Peak, and Kyrene. These four EHV stations form the cornerstones of an extensive internal network of 230-kV transmission lines that constitute the high voltage energy delivery system within the Phoenix Valley.

FERC in its order said that it is requiring APS to submit an updated horizontal market power analysis "in support of its representation that it continues to meet the commission’s standards for market-based rate authority in the TEP balancing authority area."

With respect to the APS balancing authority area, FERC said that APS passes the pivotal supplier screen but does not pass the wholesale market share screen in any of the four seasons. The utility’s failure of the wholesale market share screen in the APS balancing authority area "and its concession that it fails the screens in the Phoenix Valley load pocket" provide the basis for FERC to launch a proceeding pursuant to Section 206 of the Federal Power Act, the order said. That proceeding will determine whether APS can continue to make sales of energy and capacity at market-based rates in the APS balancing authority area and in the Phoenix Valley Load Pocket in the spring, winter, and fall seasons.

FERC therefore said that APS "must show cause, within 60 days of the date of issuance of this order, as to why the Commission should not revoke its market-based rate authority in the APS balancing authority area and in the Phoenix Valley load pocket in the spring, winter, and fall seasons."

The commission said that APS "may present additional evidence such as historical sales and transmission data to rebut the Commission’s finding that it has the ability to exercise market power in the APS balancing authority area and in the Phoenix Valley load pocket."

Alternatively, APS can file a mitigation proposal tailored to its particular circumstances that would eliminate the company's ability to exercise market power or "inform the commission that it will adopt the commission’s default cost-based rates or propose other cost-based rates and submit cost support for such rates," FERC went on to say.
 
"In addition, we find that APS has not rebutted the presumption that it has market power in the Phoenix Valley load pocket in the summer season and therefore has not supported its request to lift the limitation on its market-based rate authority in the Phoenix Valley load pocket in the summer season," FERC said.

FERC added that APS has not provided sufficient evidence that it has rebutted the presumption of market power through delivered price test (DPT) analyses for both the APS balancing authority area and the Phoenix Valley Load Pocket and can submit corrected DPTs for those areas.

A DPT identifies potential suppliers based on market prices, input costs and transmission availability, and calculates each supplier’s economic capacity and available economic capacity for each season/load period. Under the DPT, applicants must also calculate market concentration.—PAUL CIAMPOLI

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U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to "remain vigilant and ensure that energy markets are functioning properly."

Shaheen, in her Sept. 29 letter to all four FERC members, said that during peak demand in New England, "high energy prices, especially for natural gas, can put a severe strain on New Hampshire businesses and consumers, and we must take great care to ensure that energy markets operate without influence of speculation or market manipulation."

She went on to note that "New England businesses, manufacturers and families are increasingly reliant on natural gas power to heat their homes and run their businesses." The lawmaker said that according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, natural gas use for electricity generation in the Northeast has increased from less than 20% in 2001 to more than 50% in 2012. "This increasing demand – especially in colder months – has made close monitoring of these markets even more critical," wrote Shaheen.

"There is no doubt that greater usage and limited regional pipeline capacity have contributed to higher spot prices for businesses, and to that end, New England governors have committed to increase gas pipeline capacity as part of a long term energy strategy. However, we must also maintain consumer confidence in these markets by exercising strong oversight and ensuring that they are functioning free of interference," the senator said.

FERC last month approved a proposal by ISO New England and the New England Power Pool Participants Committee aimed at ensuring reliability in the region this winter. At the same time, FERC in its Sept. 9 order said that it expects ISO-NE to stick to its commitment to develop a long-term, market-based solution to address winter reliability issues (see Public Power Daily, Sept. 12, 2014).

In other recent New England market news, FERC on Sept. 16 issued an order in which it said that ISO New England must revise its transmission, markets and services tariff to provide for an independent market monitor review of import offers prior to each annual forward capacity auction held by the ISO "or show cause why it should not be required to do so." In the order, FERC voiced concerns about the potential for the exercise of market power by importers (see Public Power Daily, Sept. 18, 2014). —PAUL CIAMPOLI

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The Midcontinent Independent System Operator said Oct. 1 that the benefits of its Multi-Value Project (MVP) Portfolio are greater than had been previously estimated. A September report finds that the portfolio of transmission projects will create $13 billion to $50 billion in net economic benefits to customers over the next 20 to 40 years — a substantial increase, compared to the benefits that were expected three years ago, the ISO said.

The increases in projected benefits are attributed primarily to natural gas price assumptions and declining capacity reserves. MISO conducted the review as part of a tariff requirement.

The MVP Portfolio, made up of 17 transmission projects, was first approved by MISO's board of directors in 2011. The portfolio is designed to address regional reliability needs, deliver economic benefits and provide greater access to renewable energy resources across MISO's footprint. (The regional transmission organization oversees high-voltage power lines in 15 U.S. states and in the Canadian province of Manitoba.)

The MVP Portfolio "allows for a more efficient dispatch of generation resources, opening markets to competition and spreading the benefits of low-cost generation" throughout the MISO area, the report found. It estimates that the portfolio "will yield $17 to $60 billion in 20- to 40-year present value adjusted production cost benefits to MISO's North and Central Regions -- an increase of up to 40 percent," compared to the net present value estimated during the last review, in 2011.

The grid operator's 2014 review confirms the MVP Portfolio's ability "to deliver wind generation, in a cost-effective manner, in support of MISO States' renewable energy mandates," the report said. The portfolio enables a total of 43 million megawatt-hours of renewable energy to meet the MISO states' renewable energy mandates through 2028, MISO said.

The MVP Portfolio "allows access to wind units with a nearly $0/MWh production cost and primarily replaces natural gas units in the dispatch, which makes the MVP Portfolio's fuel savings benefit projection directly related to the natural gas price assumption," the report said.

The estimate of the portfolio's benefit-to-cost ratio ranges from 2.6 to 3.9 — significantly higher than the range of 1.8 to 3.0 that was calculated previously.

The MVP Portfolio also will reduce carbon emissions from electric generating units by between 9 million tons and 15 million tons annually, the ISO said.

"This study confirms that the MVP Portfolio will deliver significant value across the MISO region," said Jennifer Curran, the ISO's vice president of system planning and seams coordination. "As generation supply tightens across the MISO footprint, these MVPs will play a key role in ensuring access to reliable, low-cost energy."

The triennial review "validates the work of MISO and our stakeholders to develop a portfolio of projects that are essential to meeting renewable energy standards across the region," said Curran. The MVP projects also "will improve the reliability and market efficiency of the region," she added. —JEANNINE ANDERSON

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A wide variety of energy industry participants including marketers, utilities and regional transmission organizations, recently offered their reactions to the idea of establishing a centralized information and trading platform for natural gas, as well as other issues raised at a Sept. 18 meeting organized by Philip Moeller, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Sept. 18 meeting was tied to a proposal put forth by the American Forest & Paper Association earlier this year (see Public Power Daily, Sept. 23, 2014).

That association called for the creation of an information and trading platform that would include bids and offers for the purchase and sale of commodity and capacity for receipt and delivery points across multiple pipeline systems in a defined operability region.

The aim of such a platform would be to increase visibility into, and liquidity of, gas commodity and capacity markets in real time in order to, among other things, assist electric system operators to "more efficiently and reliably identify potential constraints and preposition and dispatch generation accordingly."

FERC "should ensure that short term reactions to price volatility are not put in place that deter focus on effective long term results; or that actually burden the gas and electricity markets with unintended consequences," Macquarie Energy said in its late September filing at FERC.

Macquarie Energy, which says in its filing that it is the fourth largest marketer of wholesale gas in the U.S., went on to say that the "threshold question" for any proposed solution is whether customers are willing to pay for the solution and whether the costs are recoverable.
 
"Before proceeding down a path that significantly changes the gas market – including trading platforms, allocation of pipeline capacity, start of gas day, or intraday nomination cycles – the Commission should ensure that all existing tools are used effectively," Macquarie Energy said.

For its part, Shell Energy North America (US) said in its Oct. 1 comments that based on its experience and its understanding of the proposal, it "does not believe that a ‘real-time’ gas trading platform will provide the theoretical benefits advertised, such as meaningful price visibility."

More fundamentally, Shell Energy North America went on to say, the trading platform "will not address what most parties believe is the core issue—the inability of gas-fired generation facilities to operate economically in extreme market conditions either due to a lack of transportation infrastructure or other issues."

Generators in some markets do not have the financial capability to undertake more reliable fuel supply arrangements when they are needed, the company said. Shell Energy North America believes that "a common root cause is insufficient revenue streams from regional power markets."

FERC’s consideration of new policies "that may provide generators with adequate revenues to make improvements to fuel supply arrangements as well as the Commission’s ongoing gas/electric coordination efforts are far more likely to address the real problem of access to supply than an electronic information and trading platform," Shell Energy North America added.

PJM Interconnection, which is the RTO for the Mid-Atlantic region, said that while many issues discussed at the Sept. 18 meeting focused on the unregulated natural gas commodity market, "there are concrete reforms that must be addressed on the regulated side of the industry as well."

The RTO said that there are provisions in pipeline tariffs, "in some cases approved by the Commission many years earlier during a different regulatory paradigm, which should be examined relative to their reasonableness in meeting the service and reliability needs" of both electric generator and local distribution company loads "in today’s evolving environment."

PJM in its Oct. 1 filing also offered several specific potential areas for FERC action. For example, the grid operator said that "one such traditional service provision that should be examined by the Commission is the common utilization of ratable take provisions in pipeline tariffs which impede the ability of a unit owner to obtain gas supply in more flexible, non-ratable quantities to meet the variation in electric generation gas loads during relevant operating periods."

The RTO said that FERC should consider the idea of launching a proceeding pursuant to Section 5 of the Natural Gas Act for each of the major pipelines under its jurisdiction.  Such a proceeding would ask these pipelines to justify existing ratable take tariff provisions and explain their use as well as the transparency associated with their use. In addition, the pipelines would need to address potential alternatives to imposing ratable take provisions to meet the needs of generation operating in wholesale electric markets.

Meanwhile, the PJM Industrial Customer Coalition, which consists of 26 large consumers with facilities in PJM, said that after hearing and assessing the comments from the various panelists during the Sept. 18 meeting, "it appears that the Commission is still operating from an information deficit. Specifically, it was not clear that the Commission and its staff are able to track, in real-time or otherwise, total throughput on each jurisdictional natural gas pipeline relative to the total operational capacity of the pipeline," the coalition said in its Oct. 1 comments.

The coalition recommended that FERC issue a show cause order, or an equivalent order, to all FERC-jurisdictional natural gas pipeline operators with directions to address several questions within 60 days. Among the questions suggested by the coalition is "What trading and operational flexibility currently exists in your tariff?" and "What additional trading and operational flexibility could be added to your tariff?"

Alliant Energy Corporate Services said that an electronic trading platform "is unnecessary to address a condition that arises only periodically, during periods of extreme cold or periods of high gas usage."

Small modifications to the current procedures for gas procurement for purposes of electricity generation can adequately solve procurement issues for gas-fired generation during periods of extreme cold, Alliant told FERC.

"In addition, each region of the country faces different issues with respect to gas trading and procurement and its impacts on electricity generation, therefore each region should be able to implement any necessary changes as the region deems necessary and prudent to maintain a reliable electric grid," the company added.

Additional comments filed in the proceeding are available at FERC’s website through its "eLibrary" using the docket number AD14-19-000.—PAUL CIAMPOLI

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On Thursday, Oct. 23, APPA’s Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments (DEED) program will hold a webinar, Measuring Energy Savings using Non-Intrusive Devices inside Residential Customer Homes, that is based on two recently completed DEED scholarships. The webinar will take place from 2 to 3:30 p.m., Eastern time.

This webinar will discuss the two scholarships, both of which researched the effectiveness of inside-the-home energy monitoring devices. Under the guidance of Marietta Power and Water in Georgia, Dawei He, a student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, developed a cost-effect, non-intrusive appliance load monitoring device by using smart meter data at a low sampling rate of 1 per 15 minutes. Silicon Valley Power in Santa Clara, California, assisted intern Brent Kawamura, a student at Santa Clara University, with the energy efficiency research and user satisfaction of a Tier II Advanced Power Strip (APS). The study measured the Tier II APS’ potential energy savings by installing a savings verification system into participants’ entertainment systems. It then evaluated users' satisfaction in the device by asking them to fill out a survey at the end of the testing period.

The two recent DEED scholarships that this webinar is based on are: "Apply Non-intrusive Load Monitoring Technique to Family Electricity Bill Interpretation" and "Internship for Advanced Power Strip Field Testing & Energy Savings Verification,"

The Oct. 23 webinar is worth 0.2 continuing education units and 1.5 professional development-hour credits.

The webinar will be offered at no cost to DEED program members. The registration fee is $89 for APPA members and $179 for non-members. For more information and to register, visit www.APPAAcademy.org under Webinar Series or contact APPA’s Web Department at info@publicpower.org. —RICHELLE DODDS

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APPA members are encouraged to share their activities on social media by using #CaptainPublicPower and #PublicPowerWeek hashtags.

This week marks Public Power Week’s 28th anniversary as a nationwide celebration of citizen-owned electric utilities. Captain Public Power, public power’s new mascot, was introduced this year to help APPA members tell customers why community owned electric utilities are exceptional.

"Citizen-owned public power utilities first appeared more than 100 years ago when communities created electric utilities to provide light and power to their citizens," APPA President and CEO Sue Kelly said in a post on her blog.

Members can email photos and information about their utility’s activities to PublicPowerWeek@PublicPower.org, or call the APPA Integrated Media and Communications Department at 202/467-2958. Activities will be compiled into a report that will be available on PublicPower.org.

Photos are also being added to a #PublicPowerWeek 2014 photo album on APPA’s Facebook page.

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EVENTS CALENDAR

Webinar – Performing a Utility Financial Check-Up
October 16

Legal Seminar
San Antonio, Texas
October 19-22

DEED webinar – Measuring Energy Savings Using Non-Intrusive Devices Inside Residential Customer Homes
October 23

Customer Connections Conference
Jacksonville, Florida
October 26-29

Webinar – OSHA Subpart V: Fall Protection
October 30

Webinar – OSHA Subpart V: Arc Protection and Flame-Resistant Clothing
November 10

Grid Security Summit
Arlington, Virginia
November 12-13

Webinar – Energy Efficiency: Overview of Energy Efficiency Programs
November 18

Webinar – eReliability Tracker: User Training and Tips
November 19

DEED webinar – Public Power Experiences from the U.S. DOE's Smart Grid Investment Grants
November 20

Webinar – It's a Wrap: A Look Back at Legislative, Regulatory, and Political Developments in 2014
December 9

Webinar – Energy Efficiency: Identifying Your Utility's Energy Efficiency Goals and Developing a Portfolio Strategy
December 11

Webinar – OSHA Subpart V: Minimum Approach Distance
December 16

For a full APPA Events Calendar, visit Publicpower.org.


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CLASSIFIEDS

Director of human resources and administration— The American Public Power Association seeks a director of human resources and administration to manage the development and implementation of the association’s policies and procedures that govern human resources and office administration. The director will manage the administration of employee benefit programs in conjunction with finance and legal staff members, including APPA’s defined benefit pension plan, 401(k) plan, health insurance plans, and voluntary benefit plans. The position is responsible for ensuring a positive employee-employer environment through oversight of employee recruitment, training and development, evaluation, and retention. The position also supervises support services staff and equipment (aside from I.T.), and will act as a liaison with the landlord and office service vendors and insurance brokers to ensure a quality work environment. Required education and experience:

• degree from a four-year college or university with major coursework in human resource management, business • • administration, or related field; master’s degree preferred;
• ten or more years work experience in human resources, with substantial prior experience in a management-level capacity;
• SPHR certification or demonstrated coursework toward achieving the SPHR certification preferred;
• strong interpersonal and communications skills, both oral and written;
• excellent conflict resolution and mediation skills;
• ability to work independently and exercise sound judgment;
• thorough knowledge of all aspects of HR administration;
• current knowledge of trends, practices, regulations, and developments in the HR area;
• ability to foster trust throughout the organization in the impartiality and integrity of the HR function, including the • ability to maintain the highest level of confidentiality and ensure fair treatment;
• knowledge of federal and local labor laws and their application;
• knowledge of budgeting, personnel, and administrative techniques;
• knowledge of lease administration and building services practices;
• ability to pay attention to detail and maintain accurate recordkeeping;
• history of excellent customer service delivery; and
• proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite.

Apply: For more information, visit PublicPower.org. Interested candidates should email a cover letter and resume to HumanResources@PublicPower.org with "HR Director" in the subject line. APPA is an equal opportunity employer.

Request for proposal: renewable energy procurement in California— The Western Area Power Administration’s Desert Southwest Region is soliciting proposals for up to 150 megawatts per project of new California renewable energy products on behalf of the U.S. Department of the Navy to supply various loads located within the state of California. Bid: Responses are due by Oct. 17. Interested bidders are invited to visit our website for more information.

Manager of energy operations—
A joint action agency located in Jackson, Mississippi. is currently searching for qualified applicants to fill the position of manager of energy operations, who will be responsible for managing the electric and natural gas requirements of its member municipal utilities in Mississippi. This individual would be primarily responsible for planning, analyzing, scheduling, hedging, and purchasing natural gas to meet member requirements, as well as managing related storage, contractual, and transmission natural gas assets. In addition, this position may assist in dispatch, administration, and planning for wholesale electric requirements. Qualifications: Experience in natural gas scheduling, use of pipeline bulletin boards, pipeline transmission and storage management, and negotiation and purchasing of natural gas is required. Experience in electric dispatch or rate transmission organization (RTO)-related skill sets is not required, but would be positive criteria. Applicants should have good interpersonal and communication skills, as well as technical capabilities, and be both number and people oriented. They should be highly motivated, intellectually inquisitive team-players, and able to self-direct and operate in an open work environment without excessive oversight. This is an excellent position for the right applicant to grow and expand their energy industry skill sets, while being exposed to a wide range of front-line responsibilities, tasks, and challenges in the energy industry. Compensation: Compensation packages are negotiable, depending on experience, and employees are eligible for Public Employee Retirement System benefits. Apply: Please email Jobs@MSJointAction.com.

General manager— The board of directors of Richmond Power and Light (RP&L) is seeking qualified candidates for the position of general manager. RP&L is a municipally owned electric utility serving approximately 21,000 customers, and has annual revenues of $80 million. RP&L, a total requirements member of the Indiana Municipal Power Agency, has a rich 100-year tradition of serving its customers with low electric rates and high reliability. The general manager will report to the nine-member board of directors, who are also members of the Richmond City Council. Qualifications: Candidates must have a minimum of 10 years electric utility experience, preferably within public power, and at least five years of management experience. Graduation from an accredited four-year college or university with a degree in business administration or engineering is also required. A masters of business or engineering is a plus. The board will consider candidates with broad electric utility management experience, including such areas as electric distribution, finance, operations, planning, member communications, and board relations. The successful candidate will have excellent people and communications skills, proven leadership ability, and a strong commitment to public power principles. Compensation: RP&L offers excellent benefits and a very competitive salary. Apply: The job description is posted on our company website at www.rp-l.com. Applications will be accepted until Oct. 15. Please send a résumé, cover letter, salary history, and a minimum of three references by email to: GMSEARCH@RP-L.COM. RP&L is committed to equal employment opportunity, and employs all qualified persons without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, handicap, veteran status, or any other classification protected by the federal, state, or local laws.

High voltage lineworkers— The city of Redding, California, is establishing an eligibility list to fill current and future vacancies for high voltage lineworkers. High voltage lineworkers perform all classes of electrical power transmission and distribution system construction, maintenance, and operation work. Apply: Interested individuals must submit a city of Redding online employment application at www.ci.redding.ca.us in order to be considered. This recruitment may close at any time with minimal or no notice, therefore, prompt application is encouraged. The positions are open until filled. EOE/FAAE.


Check out APPA's career services on the Web

Visit the Career Center at PublicPower.org. Our career center allows job seekers to upload resumes, and recruiters to obtain resumes from job seekers. Classified ads in Public Power Daily and Public Power Weekly cost 70 cents per word for APPA members, and 80 cents per word for nonmembers, for a one-week run. Job posting subscriptions are available in packages of five, 10, or unlimited for a full year. The weekly deadline for placing a classified ad is every Thursday at 12 p.m. (Eastern time). If you have questions about classified ads, please write to jobs@publicpower.org, or call 202/467-2958.

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