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FERC OASIS Audit Part of Reliability Effort

FERC OASIS Audit Part of Reliability Effort

Tucked inside a "supplemental notice" addressing FERC's interim reliability measures, the Commission last week said it "has begun and will continue an extensive review and audit" of electric transmission owners' Open Access Same-time Information System (OASIS) sites to ensure compliance.

OASIS originally was set up to provide the bulk power market with Internet access to information on transmission owners' prices and available transmission capacity (ATC), but critics contend it has failed miserably. Only a few OASIS sites provide the pertinent market data needed to oversee transmission market behavior, they contend. For example, they say transmission owners often knowingly post false ATC estimates on the OASIS to deny non-affiliates' requests for access to their systems.

The Commission revealed the audit plans in a response to an industry request for it to impose "more specific time requirements" on transmission owners to adjust their ATC postings on the OASIS. FERC said the OASIS regulations "already require timely updating of posted information," and that its review/audit of individual OASIS sites was intended to ensure "general compliance" with the rules.

In the supplemental notice, the Commission responded to a number of industry comments on the interim measures it issued in mid-May to improve reliability of the bulk power market this summer. For one, FERC said the waivers and other authorizations it granted to on-site generators would only apply to the wholesale "sales" of power that they actually produce; the waivers would not apply if an on-site generator purchases power and then resells it to the wholesale market.

However, if the resale isn't contrary to the on-site generator's retail authorizations or purchased power contract, the generator could seek a rate schedule for the sale at the Commission, which would be "receptive" to granting the waivers.

It further clarified the waivers and authorizations would apply only to sales by on-site generators into energy markets administered by an independent system operator (ISO) or a power exchange. The Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) Interconnection urged FERC to allow ISOs to waive rules to accommodate the sales into energy markets by on-site generators, but the Commission didn't think such a move was "advisable at this time."

Moreover, FERC said the waivers do not give on-site generators carte blanche authority to "abrogate or supersede any existing contracts or obligations; exempt [them] from existing environmental, safety or reliability requirements; [or] authorize the feeding of power into the grid where not otherwise authorized."

FERC further waived for the summer the prior-notice requirement for "mutually-agreed upon interconnection agreements" needed to carry out the sales of on-site generation to the bulk market. Such agreements can be filed along with reports of sales that are due at the Commission by Oct. 31, 2000, it said.

Susan Parker

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