On September 25, 2019, FERC issued a notice stating that the results of the ISO New England, Inc. (“ISO-NE”) thirteenth Forward Capacity Auction (“FCA”) went into effect as of June 28, 2019 by operation of law—i .e., without FERC action. FCA 13 went into effect by operation of law due to a lack of quorum in the proceeding in which ISO-NE submitted the auction results and requested FERC approval of the auction as being conducted in accordance with ISO-NE’s Tariff and producing just and reasonable rates. Under Section 205 of the Federal Power Act, FERC has 60 days to act on a proposed rate filing; if FERC takes no action in that 60-day period—a very rare occurrence—then the rate becomes effective automatically. On September 27, 2019, Commissioner Richard Glick issued a statement indicating that he did not participate in the proceeding due to an ethics pledge that precludes him from working on any matters in which his former employer, Avangrid Inc., or any of its affiliates or subsidiaries is a party until November 29, 2019. Commissioner Glick explained that he could not participate because Vineyard Wind LLC, a joint venture between Avangrid Renewables, LLC and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, was a party to the proceeding.
ISO-NE’s Forward Capacity Market seeks to ensure that the New England power system will have sufficient resources to meet future demand for electricity. FCAs are held annually, three years in advance. Generation resources compete in the auctions to obtain a commitment to supply capacity in exchange for a market-priced capacity payment. On February 28, 2019, ISO-NE filed the results of its thirteenth FCA for the June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023 period, and filed a supplement to those results on May 24, 2019 (“FCA 13 Results Filing”). The FCA 13 Results Filing stated that the auction resulted in a clearing price of $3.800/kW-month, and requested an effective date of June 28, 2019. ISO-NE’s filing also provided a list of generation resources that cleared the market and received Capacity Supply Obligations, including the new Killingly Energy Center, a 650 MW natural gas-fired facility in Killingly, Connecticut.
On June 6, 2019, FERC Staff issued a deficiency letter advising ISO-NE that its FCA 13 Results Filing did not provide sufficient detail to enable FERC to evaluate the filing. Specifically, Staff asked ISO-NE to provide additional information regarding Killingly Energy Center’s offer into the FCA. ISO-NE responded to Staff’s request in a confidential filing submitted on June 28, 2019. Staff issued a second deficiency letter on July 25, 2019, requiring that ISO-NE submit a Non-Disclosure Agreement in order to allow participants in the proceeding to request a copy of ISO-NE’s confidential filing. On July 26, 2019, ISO-NE requested that the Commission waive its requirement to submit a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Absent Commission action within 60 days of ISO-NE’s July 26 filing, the FCA 13 Results Filing became effective by operation of law, as of ISO-NE’s June 28, 2019 requested effective date. FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee and Commissioner Bernard McNamee issued a joint statement on September 27, 2019 indicating that they would have voted to accept the FCA 13 Results Filing and to grant ISO-NE’s requested waiver.