Invenergy withdraws one of two FERC lawsuits
In a letter, Invenergy writes, “because the lawsuit has “proven contentious in the Rhode Island Energy Facility Siting Board [EFSB] proceeding regarding [Invenergy]’s application for the permits necessary for the Project to be constructed” and “in order to remove this issue from being considered in any way in the EFSB proceeding – and to eliminate even the false perception of negative ratepayer impact – [Invenergy] is submitting this notice of withdrawal of the Complaint,” wrote Patricia Alexander, Senior Policy Advisor at the high-priced, international law firm Crowell & Moring LLP, on behalf of Invenergy to the EFSB this morning.
Invenergy brought the lawsuit over the cost of connecting their proposed $1 billion fracked gas and diesel oil burning power plant to the grid. Under current rules, that cost would be borne by Invenergy and run as high as hundreds of millions of dollars. Invenergy, through the lawsuit, sought to have those costs transferred to ratepayers, though Invenergy disagrees with the assertion that ratepayers would be on the hook for the money, writing:
[Invenergy] is prepared to demonstrate to the EFSB that certain assertions by opponents of the Project have misrepresented the facts regarding purported ratepayer impacts were the Commission to grant the relief requested in the Complaint. For example, opponents have falsely asserted that [Invenergy] seeks to “transfer hundreds of millions of dollars of interconnection expenses to ratepayers.” These assertions have apparently been lodged solely in order to foment false concerns. In fact, though, the relief sought in the Complaint could reduce consumer rates over the long term, as will the Project itself once operational.
Jerry Elmer, senior attorney at Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) writes that “Invenergy’s action in withdrawing one of the two pending lawsuits at FERC [Federal Energy Regulatory Commission] shows that Invenergy itself cannot make up its mind what it wants to do, and that its initial filing – only a few weeks ago – was unwise and so poorly conceived that even Invenergy could not go through with it.”
Elmer also pointed out that Invenergy has only withdrawn one of two lawsuits currently before the FERC. “The EFSB must still go ahead with Tuesday’s Show Cause Hearing because the other FERC lawsuit pertaining to Invenergy, filed by ISO-New England, is still pending, and the outcome of that lawsuit will also have a huge effect on the pending EFSB case. CLF is prepared to demonstrate at the Show Cause Hearing that the still-pending FERC case makes it completely impossible for Invenergy to keep its promise to the EFSB to be up and running in 2021.”