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ISO New England Gets Subpoena from Connecticut AG Tied to Supplier Probe

ISO New England Gets Subpoena from Connecticut AG Tied to Supplier Probe

ISO New England (ISO-NE) has just over a week to respond to a detailed Feb. 5 subpoena issued by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal that asks the electric grid operator to submit, among other things, bidding-related data as the state attorney general continues to probe generator activity during several bitterly cold days last month.

Blumenthal is taking a closer look at the actions of power suppliers in January after he received information that some generators sold natural gas on the spot market that could have otherwise been used for their own power plants during the recent power supply crunch (see Power Market Today, Jan. 21).

The subpoena, which covers Jan. 14-20, asks ISO-NE to provide the amounts of generating capacity declared physically unavailable identified by hour for the ISO-NE control area, Connecticut, Southwest Connecticut and Norwalk-Stamford, CT. "Provide any communications received or prepared by ISO-NE regarding the reasons for such physical unavailability."

Also, Blumenthal directed the grid operator to detail the amounts of generating capacity that were physically available and, separately, the generating capacity normally scheduled for maintenance during the relevant period for the ISO-NE control area, Connecticut, Southwest Connecticut and Norwalk-Stamford. "For generating capacity subject to scheduled maintenance during the relevant period, identify each such generator, by name and location, and the capacity affected."

In addition, ISO-NE must describe any energy bids in real-time or day-ahead from generators. Specifically, the grid operator must identify "the affected generator, during the relevant period in real-time or day-ahead markets which were anomalous based on a comparison with prior bidding history and estimates of operating costs, so that, even if the affected generating capacity was not as a technical matter physically unavailable, the position of such generator in the bid stack was altered materially from past experience."

Blumenthal also wants the grid operator to provide the real-time and day-ahead prices by hour for energy during the relevant period for the Connecticut zone and for representative pricing nodes in Norwalk-Stamford, Southwest Connecticut and the rest of Connecticut, respectively.

ISO-NE must also detail the utilization of daily reliability must run, operating reserves, forward reserves, ancillary services and other electric products by hour during the relevant timeframe in the grid operator's control area and, if applicable, as utilized in Connecticut and/or charged to Connecticut loads.

FERC Chairman Pat Wood recently said that he had seen no indications that the power market in New England was manipulated last month. In response, Blumenthal said that conclusions "about the conduct of power generators or its legality certainly seem premature, especially in light of preliminary evidence indicating that at least some electric generators curtailed output to exploit high natural gas prices, likely leading to the unwarranted warnings."

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