July 2, 2020 – Yesterday was the deadline for submitting comments to the proposed increase in incentives for electric transmission projects by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”). As most readers here know, many unneeded transmission projects have been filed by utility companies under pretexts due to the financial incentives (aka FERC Candies) including JCP&L’s Monmouth County Reliability Project.
We submitted our comments on behalf of almost 300 individual consumers that have signed our petition. Separately, CHARGE and RAGE have added our names to comments submitted by the Consumer Organization Groups, a group of grassroots organizations that have opposed various transmission projects across the U.S.
My email inbox exploded with comments submitted by various groups to FERC. A very quick read of comments submitted by non-utility related groups showed that we are almost unanimous in our comments that there was no basis for the proposed increased in financial incentives for transmission projects. This includes comments from state regulators like the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and California Public Utilities Commission. It also includes consumer advocate organizations like the New Jersey Division of Rate Counsel.
A common theme in many of the comments is that transmission charges have dramatically increased even as demand has consistently dropped. In addition, FERC proposed to depart from prior policy without adequate justification. Giving more money to utility and transmission companies is not an adequate justification!
As consumers that have paid for all these transmission projects, we are the one group that is most directly impacted by FERC’s proposed rules. It was important for us as consumers to join with others and voice our opposition. It was also very gratifying to see so many other credible groups including state regulators and consumer advocates that have also voiced their opposition to the proposed rules.
Thank you to all of you that have signed our petition!