The states proactively identified the potential for conflicts of interest to arise in the context of utilities’ participation in a regionally coordinated solicitation for electric power and associated transmission. Legal representatives from each state worked with utilities over a two month period to develop a standard of conduct that seeks to ensure a fair, transparent, and competitive solicitation process where all bidders are treated equally and are provided the same access to information. The standard of conduct is similar to that used in a recent state solicitation for Class I renewable resources. The states intend to use an independent, third party evaluator to inform project selection. Any project selection is also subject to review by state regulatory authorities—and to the extent transmission projects are selected—by FERC. The states are working carefully and deliberately on a process to coordinate their various procurement structures for the issuance of a regional RFP. The states have not yet issued a draft RFP, but will necessarily have to accommodate utility input on the development of the RFP given the utilities’ role in various states as the soliciting entity and contractual counterparty for power contracts. Ultimately, the states need to be satisfied that the projects funded are in the best interest of ratepayers, which will be guided by an independent evaluation, separate and apart from the utilities, and subject to potentially multiple regulatory review processes.
For more information, see the Utility Standard of Conduct