FERC affirms decision to hold utilities accountable for interconnection delays

FERC Federal Energy Regulatory Commission solar

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission affirmed its historic July 2023 rule that modernizes the U.S. transmission grid by streamlining the generator interconnection process. The rule, known as Order No. 2023, ensures that resources can connect to the transmission system in a reliable, efficient, transparent and timely manner.

This interconnection rulemaking is the first step in a series of major transmission reforms, and FERC Chairman Willie Phillips said there is more to come this spring.

“There is no single action that the Commission can take that will contribute more to enhancing the reliability, resilience and affordability of our electric grid than to facilitate the development of needed electric transmission at just and reasonable rates,” Phillips said. “Stay tuned.”

Today’s orders address rehearing and clarification requests of Order No. 2023, and the first set of compliance orders associated with it.

The rehearing order addresses the respective roles and responsibilities of transmission providers and interconnection customers in the interconnection process. It also clarifies many topics ranging from public interconnection information and the cluster study process to withdrawal and study delay penalties, and the consideration of alternative transmission technologies. It also extends the deadline for transmission providers to submit their compliance filings until 30 days after publication of Order No. 2023-A in the Federal Register.

In July 2023, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) supported FERC’s proposed interconnection reforms and praised the commission for its efforts to promote accountability and penalize utilities and transmission owners that fail to respond to interconnection requests in a timely manner.

“This decision sends a strong message that the Commission is committed to implementing meaningful interconnection reforms that promote fairness and accountability,” said Melissa Alfano, senior director of energy markets and counsel for SEIA, regarding this recent decision. “For the last decade, utilities have slow-walked interconnection applications and failed to make progress on their own, causing a massive, two-terawatt backlog of solar and storage assets waiting for permission to connect to the grid. These new rules will establish clear expectations for all parties involved in the interconnection process and outline consequences for inaction.”

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