Transmission towers viewed from below; a blue sky in the background.

Transmission Infrastructure

State attor­neys gen­er­al are address­ing ener­gy infra­struc­ture projects and needs in their states and regions, includ­ing trans­mis­sion infra­struc­ture. Trans­mis­sion infra­struc­ture is often need­ed to move clean ener­gy resources (such as wind, solar and hydropow­er) from strand­ed, remote loca­tions to load cen­ters. See our Track­ing Trans­mis­sion Reform resource for the lat­est updates on how state attor­neys gen­er­al are engag­ing in grid reform. 

Advo­ca­cy at the Fed­er­al Level

The Fed­er­al Ener­gy Reg­u­la­to­ry Com­mis­sion (FERC) reg­u­lates incen­tives to build trans­mis­sion infra­struc­ture under sec­tion 219 of the Fed­er­al Pow­er Act (FPA), enact­ed as part of the Ener­gy Pol­i­cy Act of 2005. FPA sec­tion 219 required FERC to estab­lish incen­tive-based (includ­ing per­for­mance-based) rates for the trans­mis­sion of elec­tric­i­ty for the pur­pose of ben­e­fit­ing con­sumers by ensur­ing reli­a­bil­i­ty and reduc­ing the cost of deliv­ered pow­er by reduc­ing trans­mis­sion congestion.

2017-2021

  • March 2020

    In March 2020, FERC released a notice of pro­posed rule­mak­ing (NOPR) that pro­posed to revise FERC’s elec­tric­i­ty trans­mis­sion incen­tives under sec­tion 219 of the FPA.

  • June 2020

    In June 2020, attor­neys gen­er­al filed com­ments opposed to the NOPR.

    Con­necti­cut Attor­ney Gen­er­al William Tong led a coali­tion of sev­en attor­neys gen­er­al and oth­er state enti­ties in fil­ing com­ments. The com­ments not­ed that based on the record of the pro­ceed­ing, there is no demon­strat­ed need to mod­i­fy exist­ing incen­tives except in lim­it­ed instances, such as to bet­ter reflect states’ clean ener­gy pol­i­cy choic­es and relat­ed statu­to­ry require­ments. The attor­neys gen­er­al con­tin­ued that adop­tion of all oth­er pro­posed rule changes would be arbi­trary and capri­cious in vio­la­tion of the Admin­is­tra­tive Pro­ce­dure Act.

    Vir­ginia Attor­ney Gen­er­al Mark Her­ring filed his own com­ments. The attor­ney gen­er­al not­ed that the NOPR is nei­ther fac­tu­al­ly nor legal­ly sup­port­able and point­ed out that the pro­pos­al would boost util­i­ty prof­its at the expense of util­i­ty con­sumers. Fur­ther, the com­ments stat­ed that the NOPR is incon­sis­tent with sec­tion 219 of the FPA in fail­ing to pro­vide an incen­tive to induce behav­ioral changes that strength­en trans­mis­sion infra­struc­ture, instead seek­ing to force cap­tive ratepay­ers to pay for busi­ness-as-usu­al as it relates to trans­mis­sion infrastructure.

For up-to-date AG activ­i­ty on trans­mis­sion reform, see our Track­ing Trans­mis­sion Reform web resource.