On August 22, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission dismissed Alternative Transmission Inc.’s (“ATI”) petition for declaratory order, Alternative Transmission, Inc., 168 FERC ¶ 61,106 (2019), requesting the Commission find that: (1) non-wire facilities and services described in ATI’s Petition provide “transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce” subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction under the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. §§ 824-825 (2012), and (2) ATI, as the owner and operator of the facilities, will be a “public utility” under section 201(e) of the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. § 824(e) (2012) (Docket No. EL19-69-000).

ATI claimed its proposal would ‘transmit’ electricity without the use of wires. ATI proposed to construct “electric energy transfer stations” — for charging and discharging — at various locations. At the charging stations, energy would be transferred to a mobile medium (e.g., a shippable container of an electrically chargeable, dischargeable, and rechargeable medium). The charged mobile medium then would be transported by rail (and possibly tractor-trailer, boat or airplane, or any combination of these) to discharging stations.

The Commission found the application premature because ATI provided only a hypothetical example of the proposed alternative transmission facilities and services and did not include a detailed description of the function and operation of the specific facilities that ATI claims would provide jurisdictional transmission service. Also, ATI had neither identified the specific transmission planning region where it wishes to participate, nor a specific transmission need identified as a result of a regional transmission planning process. The Commission could not make a reasoned decision on whether ATI’s proposed facilities and services would, in fact, provide “transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce” or whether ATI would, in fact, qualify as a public utility under section 201(e) of the Federal Power Act.

For further information on FERC jurisdiction, please contact: Michael Postar, Bhaveeta K. Mody, Kristen Connolly McCullough, or Sean M. Neal.