AL Municipal Elec. Authority v. FERC, No. 10-1141 (D.C. Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
AMEA purchases power wholesale from various sources, including Southern, and sells it to 11 municipally owned utilities in Alabama. AMEA uses "unbundled" transmission service provided by one of Southern's subsidiaries. When AMEA uses Southern's transmission system for such unbundled transmission, it pays the "Open Access Transmission Tariff" paid by any party receiving such service from Southern. Southern also sells power directly to retail consumers in Alabama. For the transmission of these "bundled" retail sales, it uses the Alabama component of its transmission system, which has lower unit costs than its transmission system as a whole. According to AMEA, the relatively high cost of transmission service in Georgia drives Southern's systemwide average above its Alabama unit costs. AMEA subsequently filed a complaint with FERC, challenging the rate differential. At issue was whether Southern's pricing violated FERC's comparability policy. Giving FERC the appropriate level of deference on its interpretation of its own orders, the court concluded that it did not. Accordingly, the petition for review was denied.