Commonwealth Ed's Hook-Up Proposal Wins Raves
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week endorsed a
customer-friendly interconnction plan by Commonwealth Edison,
calling it "another critical step" toward getting new merchant
power plants on the transmission grid.
The Commission approved, with a few changes, ComEd's
first-of-its-kind proposal in which an Illinois utility sought to
amend its open-access tariff to establish standardized procedures
for requesting interconnection services on its system and the
criteria by which requests would be evaluated [ER00-1820].
Commonwealth Edison's amended tariff specifically will provide
potential customers with information on how priority in the queue
for interconnections will be determined and the time frame in which
studies will be completed and final decisions made.
"This is another critical step along the road to a more rational
pro-competitive policy" in the electric industry, said Commissioner
William Massey, who is spearheading an effort at the Commission to
provide greater access to the transmission grid for new power
"I wholeheartedly endorse this call and ask [other] transmission
providers to heed it. It's a call to take down another of the
obstacles to letting markets work."
Many in the power industry seek a more standardized
interconnection process for all utilities to follow, Massey noted.
"These suggestions certainly have a lot of appeal to me.....The
Commission should move in these directions. But for today I'm
satisfied with our explicit encouragement [for] utilities to amend
their tariffs as Commonwealth Edison has done."
For Chairman James Hoecker, the filing marks an important
turning point. "I believe this filing reflects a subtle but very
important change in the way transmission owners view the merchant
generation, that is as customers. What a concept."
ComEd also has submitted an expanded interconnection policy that
will facilitate siting in northern Illinois, and has posted on its
Web site the preferred locations for new generation in the state,
he said. This "takes a lot of the mystery out of the process of
siting and of market entry by showing where new generation can be
accommodated without necessarily expanding the existing
transmission facility. I really like these customer-friendly
innovations, as do my colleagues."
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