What People Are Saying About Electricity Transmission Competition

State commissions, federal agencies, trade associations, consumer groups, and environmental advocates representing over a hundred individual entities agree that competitive transmission delivers cost discipline and is needed to ensure that dollars are spent on more efficient and cost-effective transmission solutions, and, in turn, that rates are just and reasonable.

Many of the commenters highlight the benefits of the competitive processes that have occurred to date, including lowering costs, shifting risk from ratepayers to developers, and identifying innovative solutions. Some commenters also call for expanding the universe of projects identified through and subject to competitive process. The following is a sampling of initial ANOPR comments, reply comments, and news articles demonstrating support for competitive transmission.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, 2023

“The right of first refusal language inserted by Senate Amendment 4 will raise costs for rate payers by giving incumbent utility providers in the MISO region a monopoly over new transmission lines. Eliminating competition will cause rates to increase in the MISO region, where there is currently over $3.6 billion in planned transmission construction in the Ameren service territory. Without competition, Ameren ratepayers will pay for these transmission projects at a much higher cost. Competitively bidding transmission construction, instead of giving the utility a monopoly, has been shown to lower costs significantly.”

Willie Phillips, FERC Chairman, 2023

“We propose that we reinstate the [Federal] ROFR in limited circumstances…but to be clear, we have had many comments on the record, we are reviewing those comments, and I am open to changes to the proposed rule.”

Iowa Supreme Court Justices, 2023

“We are not surprised the ROFR lacked enough votes to pass without logrolling. The provision is quintessentially crony capitalism. This rent-seeking, protectionist legislation is anticompetitive. Common sense tells us that competitive bidding will lower the cost of upgrading Iowa’s electric grid and that eliminating competition will enable the incumbent to command higher prices for both construction and maintenance. Ultimately, the ROFR will impose higher costs on Iowans.”

Federal Trade Commission & Department of Justice, 2022 (FERC NOPR Joint Filing) 

“The Agencies encourage FERC to pursue the alternative proposals to solve the problems FERC has identified before adopting an inefficient, noncompetitive system that relies on any type of ROFR. In particular, FERC should adopt reforms that will improve regional transmission planning and cost allocation processes without harming competition, as well as reforms that will strengthen and expand the implementation of existing competitive processes for transmission design and construction.”

Department of Justice, 2022 (Press Release)

“The comment notes that when FERC eliminated the ROFR under certain circumstances in 2011, it recognized the benefits to consumers of having competition for transmission design and construction. The comment urges FERC not to abandon competition, and it cites examples of where competition for transmission design and construction has resulted in lower costs and innovation.”

Senators Martin Heinrich and Mike Lee, 2022 (Letter) 

“We strongly encourage FERC to pursue transmission reforms in a manner that fosters market competition for high-voltage transmission projects to the greatest extent possible. This will help lower the cost of transmission development and will help ensure that electricity prices remain relatively more affordable for consumers. We urge you to abandon the efforts to promulgate such ROFR proposals and to reaffirm the Commission’s commitment to transmission competition that will deliver tangible benefits for the Nation and for consumers for decades to come.”

Elizabeth Wilkins, Director of the Office of Policy Planning, Federal Trade Commission, 2022 (Press Release) 

“Competition is still the best way to ensure that our electric grid is built out in a way that lowers rates, increases innovation, and improves sustainability and resiliency. Granting a right of first refusal for transmission upgrade proposals to incumbent monopoly electricity providers without first exhausting procompetitive alternatives ill serves electricity customers.”

The City of New York (FERC NOPR Filing)

“Competition has led to the ongoing development of several important transmission solutions in New York. Commissioner Clements acknowledged as much, describing the success of competitive solicitations for the NYISO’s competitive public policy transmission planning process as “a bright spot in the Order No. 1000 landscape.” Importantly, Commissioner Clements also recognized that the continuation of this success will depend on how federal ROFRs are (or are not) enabled in New York. The City agrees with this assessment.”

The Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (FERC NOPR Filing)

“The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) should continue to promote competition for the provision of transmission services. Under competition, customers in one state should not be required to pay for (subsidized) transmission or generation projects needed to satisfy public policies adopted by another state.”

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio’s Office of the Federal Energy Advocate (FERC NOPR Filing)

“The Ohio FEA does not believe it is in the public interest for FERC to establish a federal right of first refusal for transmission facilities selected in a regional transmission plan for purposes of cost allocation, conditioned on the incumbent transmission provider establishing joint ownership of the transmission facilities.” 

Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (FERC NOPR Filing)

“The PAPUC opposes FERC’s proposal to amend Order No. 1000’s reforms in order to permit the exercise of a federal right of first refusal (“ROFR”) for transmission facilities selected in LRTR planning for purposes of cost allocation, even where the transmission provider with the ROFR for such regional transmission facilities establishes joint ownership of the transmission facilities.”

“Moreover, projects built by incumbent transmission owners are demonstrably more expensive in almost every case. By mile and by peak lead served, over the last decade, PJM baseline projects, which are mostly subject to competition, are less expensive than transmission owner-driven local “supplemental” projects.”

The Organization of PJM States, Inc. (FERC NOPR Filing)

“OPSI supports the right of the individual states to choose to provide TOs within their states with ROFRs, and it also supports the right of states to expose transmission development in their territory to the greatest amount of competition possible. Indeed, multiple POSI states have strong policy commitments to competitive transmission development that a ROFR imposed under federal authority would undermine.”

Independent Market Monitor for PJM (FERC NOPR Filing)

“The Commission proposes to substantially weaken the prohibition against the exercise of federal rights of first refusal for an incumbent transmission provider with respect to entirely new transmission facilities selected in a regional transmission plan for purposes of cost allocation. The Market Monitor opposes this provision because it weakens rather than strengthens competition to build transmission. Extending the prohibition on the right of first refusal rather than weakening it would support the Commission’s other transmission planning goals. The goals of Order No. 1000 continue to be an essential guide for transmission policy.”

R Street Institute (FERC NOPR Filing)

“RSI implores the Commission to:

  • Remove federal ROFR considerations from the final rule;
  • Pursue the complementary merits of expanding competition and independent planning through
  • separate proceedings in a proper Section 206 manner; and
  • Adopt the recommendations of the Electricity Transmission Competition Coalition (ETCC) on this
  • manner, whose comments RSI has contributed to and formally endorses in this proceeding.”

“The legal and policy mechanisms used to pursue ROFR are deeply problematic. Using Section 309 of the Federal Power Act in this manner carriers major legal risk that may not be severable from the rest of the final rule, which makers ROFR the Achilles’ heel of the NOPR.”

NRG Energy Inc, 2022

“NRG opposes the Commission’s proposal to abolish competition in one of the few spaces in electric transmission that exists. The Commission has negligently allowed electric transmission rates to go effectively unregulated, even while the space remains largely monopolized…The Commission’s proposal on the federal right of first refusal should be withdrawn, and the Commission should begin to take steps to enforce competition and to actively regulate electric-transmission rates for which it has jurisdiction.”

Office of The People’s Counsel for The District of Columbia and The Maryland Office of People’s Counsel, 2022

“Finally, the return of the ROFR is simply bad transmission policy. As previously stated, but worth repeating, transmission competition serves as the most effective way of containing transmission costs, especially at a time when transmission expansion is both underway and needed… Instead of reinstating a costly and discriminatory policy like federal ROFR, the NOPR could tackle the deficiencies of Order No. 1000 by removing the requirement that cost allocation or project size are determinative in a project’s eligibility for competitive solicitation…Similarly competitive solicitations should be available for nearly every project of 100 kV and above.”

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, 2022

“If anything, the Board’s own experience competitively soliciting transmission solutions through PJM’s State Agreement Approach to support New Jersey offshore wind development shows that Brattle’s savings estimates may be conservative. Indeed, the Board itself received 80 proposals from 13 separate entities in response to its competitive solicitation of transmission solutions for New Jersey’s offshore wind needs. The number of possible choices for how to implement New Jersey’s offshore wind policies would simply not have been available outside of a competitive solicitation format.”

Department of Justice, 2019 (Court Filing)

“Even if an incumbent is best-situated to develop a particular project, [the bill] would likely reduce the competitive pressure on such incumbents to develop higher quality, lower cost transmission facilities. Thus, as a result of lost competition, consumers may have higher expenses in the form of greater transmission rates.”

Jon Wellinghoff, Chairman, FERC, 2009-2013 (Politico)

“I don’t think [competition] was fairly and fully tested out, because I think everything was done by … certain states and by a number of the incumbent transmission owners to ensure that they didn’t have to act in a competitive environment … I think there’s no question that was really never fully tested.”

John Norris, former FERC commissioner when Order No. 1000 was passed (Politico)

“This is FERC’s recognition that we’re sitting here 10 years later [since Order No. 1000] and not a lot of progress has been made.” 

Neil Chatterjee, Chairman, FERC 2017-2018 (Politico)

“[The FERC’s April 21, 2022 proposed rule] could theoretically take the entire planning docket down if it was subjected to a serious legal challenge — which it most certainly would be. This is going to result in higher prices for consumers. And it’s a step that I think also has significant legal vulnerabilities.”

National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners

“Planners should also use competitive processes to minimize costs to consumers.”

“Since the Commission issued Order No. 1000 in 2011, there has been a significant increase in the development of local transmission projects that are exempt from competitive bidding requirements. This has contributed to significant, and potentially unwarranted, increases in transmission rates, and compromised effective regional transmission planning.”

National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates

“Planning processes must ensure that solutions are cost effective and are designed to achieve lower energy costs for consumers. FERC’s transmission planning and interconnection policies should continue to support robust competition and should temper the ability of incumbent transmission providers to expand their monopoly control over the electric grid. Where competitive transmission development does not exist, FERC must ensure that transmission planning and oversight processes encourage and achieve diligent cost management for the benefit of energy consumers.”

Department of Energy

“Regional transmission planning and commissioning will also facilitate competition for transmission project development, yielding potential transmission cost savings.”

California Public Utilities Commission

“Given the existing, and increasing, financial burden on transmission customers, it is imperative that oversight of transmission spending effectively ensures that customers do not pay for suboptimal, unnecessary, or imprudent projects. Instead, customers should reap the benefits of forward-looking, holistic regional planning and robust competitive processes that identify the most efficient and cost-effective transmission and, where appropriate, non-transmission solutions. ”

New England States Committee on Electricity

“The Commission should prioritize reforms that promote cost discipline and cost containment generally, not just tethered to potential transmission monitors. Key among these reforms should be enhancing competition in the development and construction of transmission solutions.”

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities

“Failing to provide these avenues for competition not only runs counter to the Commission’s stated policy goals, it may prove unduly discriminatory against competitive transmission developers and preclude ratepayers from realizing more efficient solutions.”

New York State Public Service Commission and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

“The Commission should support the formation of an effective framework for competition among transmission developers, inclusion of meaningful cost-containment measures in rates, and strong oversight over and review of capital expenditures to ensure the financial parameters used to set revenue requirements are reasonable and not excessive.”

Independent Market Monitor For PJM

“The ANOPR discusses the impacts of transmission rules on the competitiveness of the energy markets but does not focus on the competitiveness of transmission itself. Given that the cost of transmission is increasing as a share of total wholesale power costs and now exceeds the cost of capacity in PJM, the cost effectiveness and competitiveness of the transmission planning and procurement process should be included in all aspects of the NOPR.”

“The goal of wholesale power market design should be to enhance competition and to ensure that competition is the driver for all the key elements of markets.”

“The goal should be to remove barriers to competition from nonincumbent transmission.”

Potomac Economics, Ltd. (as Independent Market Monitor for MISO, NYISO and ISO-NE)

“When paired with allowing investment from non-incumbents in existing facilities, this will also impose competitive discipline on incumbents and result in lower costs for consumers.”

Competitive Power Ventures, Inc.

“CPV is a strong advocate of using competitive market principles to drive the industry to achieve the greatest efficiencies while controlling costs and limiting risk to the ratepayers. . . . We equally believe that maintaining the discipline of competition in generation interconnections and project development has been and will continue to be the most cost-effective way to make that transition happen.”

The Office of the People’s Counsel for the District of Columbia (“D.C. People’s Counsel”)

“Enhancing opportunities for competition is another important step in ensuring a cost-effective development of the transmission grid.”

Resale Power Group of Iowa

“Competition for constructing new transmission infrastructure, if implemented as ETCC recommends, will produce the innovation, cost discipline, and accountability on which just and reasonable rates can be derived.”

Electric Power Supply Association

“It is critical, however, that any reforms to transmission policies leverage the Commission’s commitment to competition to ensure that cost-effective transmission investments are signaled and supported by planning, cost allocation, and/or interconnection processes, including the use of competitive procurement processes.”

Industrial Customer Organizations

“The Commission should allow competition to dictate outcomes for the benefit of consumers and market participants whenever possible.”

“The Commission should move forward aggressively to eliminate the absolute power held by incumbent public utilities to prevent competition in the development of new transmission through rights-of-first-refusal or other anti-competitive measures that prevent competition for new transmission development.”

New England Consumer-Owned Systems (“NECOS”)

“Finish Implementing Order No. 1000’s Promise of Competitive Entry into Transmission Ownership: . . . [FERC] Order No. 1000’s promise of competitive entry into transmission development, and the resulting improvements in efficiency and cost effectiveness that should be expected to result from competition, remain unfulfilled to date in New England. Directing the prompt and complete realization of the benefits of competitive entry envisioned in Order No. 1000, including the creation of meaningful opportunities for participation in transmission ownership by consumer-owned utilities, should be a Commission priority in connection with building transmission for the future.”

R Street Institute

“Eliminating competitive carve-outs than enable regulatory evasion under Order No. 1000 should be prioritized, and R Street supports the comments of the Electric Transmission Competition Coalition in this proceeding.”

Union of Concerned Scientists

“Given the Commission’s concern for preventing discrimination and unjust and unreasonable rates, tracking these processes, and understanding the opportunities and the roles of stakeholders, competition and public participation is paramount to the regulatory paradigm on which the Commission relies.”

Advanced Energy Economy

“AEE suggests that the Commission explore the impact that exemptions from the requirement to remove rights of first refusal to construct transmission from Commission-approved tariffs may be having on transmission planning outcomes and transmission investments.”

Environmental and Renewable Energy Advocates

“Without sufficient transparency and the ability to propose alternatives for these non-competitive transmission projects, transmission planners are unable to ensure that transmission rates are just and reasonable.”




Read How the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Failure to Enforce Transmission Competition Will Lead to Decades of Electricity Price Inflation for American Consumers.