A group of 84 energy stakeholders has sent a letter to U.S. Senate leaders asking them to oppose a bill introduced by Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., that restricts the way the costs of new electric transmission lines may be allocated. The cost restrictions would thwart construction of new transmission needed to reliably deliver new sources of generation, according to the stakeholders.
The stakeholders include representatives from utilities and environmental groups, as well as transmission, renewable and other power developers.
While the bill sponsors contend that the cost-allocation measure is intended to protect customers from being burdened unfairly, the signatories pointed out that the legislation (S.400) is unnecessary in light of a new rule expected to be finalized soon by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that will prevent those who do not benefit from transmission from paying for it.
The signatories also pointed out that by adopting a single, federally mandated, standardized approach to cost allocation, the legislation would have the far-reaching effect of overturning the consensus regional stakeholder agreements that have already been approved by FERC to support needed transmission investment in their regions.