Former Commissioner: FERC’s Transmission Rule will Benefit the Southeast

NARUC's statement about FERC Order 1920 did not paint a rosy picture. SACE Board Chair Ennis Leon Jacobs Jr., former Chair of the Florida PSC, decided to weigh in.

Stephen Smith | June 4, 2024 | Energy Policy, Utilities

Ennis Leon Jacobs, Jr. is familiar with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). When Jacobs was Chair of the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) he served on the Board of Directors of NARUC, chaired NARUC’s Consumer Affairs Committee, and chaired NARUC’s Y2K Ad-Hoc Task Force. So when NARUC came out with a statement about FERC Order 1920 that did not paint a rosy picture, Jacobs, now president of SACE’s Board of Directors, decided to weigh in. He sent NARUC Chair Julie Fedorchak a letter to express support for Order 1920 “because of the positive impact it can have on Florida and the rest of the Southeast.”

Jacobs’ letter to NARUC Chair Julie Fedorchak supporting FERC Order 1920

FERC Order 1920 institutes key guidelines for how regions like the Southeast should be evaluating transmission solutions to reduce costs and improve reliability as the electricity sector transitions to clean energy resources.

At a time where all areas of the country are faced with rising costs, shifting generation resources, erosions of the reliability of traditional generating fleets, and increased extreme weather, it is of the utmost importance that state Commissions and FERC focus on avenues to reduce costs and improve reliability. Strategic transmission projects, at the regional level, where the benefits are obvious, will be key at this time. ~ Ennis Leon Jacobs, Jr. in a letter to NARUC on May 28, 2024

Regional entities engaged in transmission planning include the Florida Reliability Coordinating Council (FRCC), the Southeastern Regional Transmission Planning (SERTP) process, and the South Carolina Regional Transmission Planning (SCRTP) process. Over the course of the next year or so, these entities and the utilities that run them will update planning processes and file an updated process with FERC.

FERC Order 1920 presents an opportunity for Commissions to take a closer look at the potential for regional transmission projects to lower costs and improve reliability for customers in their states. The Order, and the revised transmission planning process we expect to come after it, adds another tool to the utility’s resource planning toolbox. I write because I am optimistic for the positive impact FERC Order 1920 and its implementation can have on electric utility customers across the Southeast as we face increasingly uncertain times. ~ Ennis Leon Jacobs, Jr. in a letter to NARUC on May 28, 2024

We commend SACE Board President Ennis Leon Jacobs, Jr. for weighing in to highlight that FERC Order 1920 can be incredibly beneficial to the Southeast. SACE will continue to work toward responsible grid planning to improve the reliability and affordability of the grid as we transition to clean energy.

Stephen Smith
Dr. Stephen A. Smith has over 35 years of experience affecting positive change for the environment. Since 1993, Dr. Smith has led the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) as…
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