Cent. Hudson Gas & Elec. Corp. v. Fed. Energy Regulatory Comm'n, No. 14-1786 (2d Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders issued in 2013 and 2014 approved the New York Independent System Operator’s (NYISO) creation of a new wholesale electric power “capacity zone” comprising areas of Southeastern New York, including the lower Hudson Valley. The orders followed NYISO’s identification of areas in which customers received power from suppliers located on the other side of a “transmission constraint” in the electrical grid. Because of the way New York’s capacity markets work, NYISO concluded that financial incentives for capacity resources in the transmission‐constrained area that became the Valley Zone were inadequate, jeopardizing the reliability of the grid. FERC’s approval of the Zone, with a new “demand curve” to set capacity prices, were designed to address the reliability problem by providing more accurate price signals to in‐zone resources, but were expected to result in higher prices to customers. Utilities, the state, and the New York Public Service Commission alleged that FERC failed adequately to justify the expected higher prices, particularly without a “phase‐in” of the new zone and its demand curve, in violation of FERC’s statutory mandate to ensure that rates are “just and reasonable,” 16 U.S.C. 824d(a). The Second Circuit rejected the challenge. FERC adequately justified its decisions.