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California Public Utilities Commission v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

April 21, 2017

California Public Utilities Commission, Petitioner,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Mirant Americas Energy Marketing, LP; Nevada Power Company; Sierra Pacific Power Company; City of Seattle; City of Glendale; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors, and City of Glendale, California, The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Petitioners, Nevada Power Company; Sierra Pacific Power Company; City of Seattle; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner, NRG Power Marketing, Inc.; Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County, Commission of the State of California; Port of Seattle, Washington; City of Tacoma, Washington; The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; El Paso Merchant Energy L.P.; Sacramento Municipal Utility District; Mirant Americas Energy Marketing, LP; Mirant California, LLC; Mirant Delta, LLC, Mirant Potrero, LLC; Dynegy Power Marketing, Inc.; El Segundo Power LLC, Long Beach Generation, LLC; Cabrillo Power I, LLC; Cabrillo Power II, LLC; Portland General Electric Company; PacifiCorp; Transmission Agency of Northern California (TANC); Northern California Power Agency, Public Service Company of New Mexico; Coral Power, L.L.C., Constellation Power Source; Coral Power, L.L.C.; Constellation Energy Commodities Group, Inc.; California Independent System Operator Corporation; Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District; CA State Assembly; Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Intervenors, Port of Seattle; City of Tacoma; The People of the State of California; City of San Diego; CA State Assembly, Petitioners-Intervenors, Nevada Power Company; Sierra Pacific Power Company; City of Seattle, Intervenors, City of Pasadena, Petitioner-Intervenor, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. California Public Utilities Commission, Petitioner, Southern California Edison Company; The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; City of Tacoma, Washington; Port of Seattle Washington, Petitioners-Intervenors, Portland General Electric Company; Avista Corporation; El Paso Merchant Energy L.P.; Coral Power, L.L.C.; Northern California Power Agency; Avista Energy, Inc.; Morgan Stanley Capital Group, Inc.; Merrill Lynch Capital Services Inc.; Duke Energy North America, LLC, Duke Energy Trading and Marketing, Llc, (Collectively, “Duke Energy”); Pacific Gas & Electric Company; PacifiCorp; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent, M-S-R Public Power Agency; Modesto Irrigation District; City of Redding, California; City of Santa Clara, California; Dynegy Power Marketing, Inc., El Segundo Power LLC, Long Beach Generation LLC, Cabrillo Power I LLC, and Cabrillo Power II LLC (Collectively, “Dynegy”), Respondents-Intervenors. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Petitioner, The People of the State of California, ex Rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Southern California Edison Company, Petitioners-Intervenors, Avista Corporation; Cogeneration Association of CA (CAC), Nevada Independent Energy Coalition (NIEC) and Cogeneration Coalition of WA (CCW); California Independent System Operator Corporation; Portland General Electric Company; Dynegy Power Marketing, Inc.; El Segundo Power; Cabrillo Power; Cabrillo Power II LLC; Morgan Stanley Capital Group, Inc.; Modesto Irrigation District; City of Santa Clara, California; Avista Energy; Puget Sound Investment Group; The City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Coral Power, L.L.C.; Mirant Americas Energy Marketing, LP, Mirant CA, LLC, Mirant Delta, LLC, and Mirant Potereo, LLC (Collectively, “Mirant”; Transcanada Energy Ltd.; Northern California Power Agency; City of Tacoma, Washington; Port of Seattle Washington; PacifiCorp; PacifiCorp; Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District; City of Redding, California; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Respondent-Intervenor. Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Petitioner-Intervenor, Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District; PacifiCorp; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. San Diego Gas & Electric Company, Petitioner, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. California Public Utilities Commission, Petitioner, Port of Seattle Washington; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Portland General Electric Company, Petitioner, Modesto Irrigation District; City of Santa Clara; City of Redding; California Independent System Operator Corporation; Transcanada Energy; California Public Utilities Commission; Southern California Edison Company; California Electricity Oversight Board; Pacific Gas & Electric Company; The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Northern California Power Agency; Port of Seattle; Tucson Electric Power Company; PacifiCorp; El Paso Merchant Energy L.P.; Constellation Energy Commodities Group, Inc.; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner, California Electricity Oversight Board; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent, California Independent System Operator Corporation, Intervenor, Port of Seattle Washington; Avista Energy Inc.; California Electricty Oversight Board; Dynegy Power Marketing, Inc., El Segundo Power LLC, Long Beach Generation LLC, Cabrillo Power I LLC, and Cabrillo Power II LLC (Collectively, “Dynegy”), Applicants-Intervenors. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Petitioner, California Electricity Oversight Board; Port of Seattle; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent, California Independent System Operator Corporation, Intervenor, Port of Seattle Washington; Coral Power, L.L.C.; Avista Energy Inc.; Puget Sound Energy, Inc; California Electricty Oversight Board; Dynegy Power Marketing, Inc., El Segundo Power LLC, Long Beach Generation LLC, Cabrillo Power I LLC, and Cabrillo Power II LLC (Collectively, “Dynegy”), Applicants-Intervenors. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Petitioner, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent, California Independent System Operator Corporation, Intervenor, Duke Energy North America, LLC, Duke Energy Trading and Marketing, LLC, (Collectively, “Duke Energy”); Southern California Edison Company, (Edison); Port of Seattle Washington; Coral Power, L.L.C.; Avista Energy, Inc.; California Electricty Oversight Board; Dynegy Power Marketing, Inc., El Segundo Power LLC, Long Beach Generation LLC, Cabrillo Power I LLC, and Cabrillo Power II LLC (Collectively, “Dynegy”), Applicants-Intervenors. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Petitioner, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Petitioner, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California; Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Petitioners, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. California Public Utilities Commission; California Electricity Oversight Board, Petitioners, Port of Seattle, Washington; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California; Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Petitioners, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Petitioner, California Electricity Oversight Board; Southern California Edison Company, Petitioners-Intervenors, Modesto Irrigation District; The People of the State of California, ex Rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Avista Energy Inc.; California Independent System Operator Corporation; Enron Power Marketing Inc.; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent, Dynegy Power Marketing, Inc.; Modesto Irrigation District; Northern California Power Agency; California Independent System Operator Corporation; The People of the State of California, ex Rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Respondents-Intervenors. Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner, Modesto Irrigation District; The People of the State of California, ex Rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Sempra Energy Trading Corp.; Avista Energy Inc.; California Independent System Operator Corporation; Enron Power Marketing Inc.; City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Williams Power Company, Inc; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. California Public Utilities Commission; California Electricity Oversight Board, Petitioners, Modesto Irrigation District; The People of the State of California, ex Rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Sempra Energy Trading Corp.; Avista Energy Inc.; Enron Power Marketing Inc.; Williams Power Company, Inc; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent, The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Respondent-Intervenor. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Petitioner, Modesto Irrigation District; The People of the State of California, ex Rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Sempra Energy Trading Corp.; Avista Energy Inc.; Puget Sound Energy, Inc; California Independent System Operator Corporation; Enron Power Marketing, Inc.; Williams Power Company, Inc; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner, Tucson Electric Power Company, Intervenor, Modesto Irrigation District, Respondent-Intervenor, The People of the State of California, ex Rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Avista Energy Inc.; California Independent System Operator Corporation; Enron Power Marketing Inc.; Williams Power Company, Inc; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent, Williams Power Company, Inc; PacifiCorp, Applicants-Intervenors. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Petitioner, Modesto Irrigation District; The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Avista Energy Inc.; California Independent System Operator Corporation; Enron Power Marketing, Inc.; Williams Power Company, Inc; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Petitioner, Modesto Irrigation District; The People of the State of California, ex Rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Sempra Energy Trading Corp.; Avista Energy Inc.; California Independent System Operator Corporation; Enron Power Marketing, Inc.; California Independent System Operator Corporation; City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Avista Energy Inc.; Williams Power Company, Inc; Sempra Energy Trading Corp.; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. California Public Utilities Commission; California Electricity Oversight Board, Petitioners-Appellants, The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; Avista Energy Inc.; Enron Power Marketing Inc.; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent-Appellee. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Petitioner, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California, Petitioner, Port of Seattle, Petitioner-Intervenor, Portland General Electric Company; El Segundo Power Llc; California Edison Company, Intervenors, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor, and Pinnacle West Company,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent, Southern California Edison Company, Applicant-Intervenor. California Public Utilities Commission; California Electricity Oversight Board, Petitioners, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Petitioner, Southern California Edison Company; The People of the State of California, ex Rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Petitioners-Intervenors, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent, Tucson Electric Power Company; PacifiCorp, Respondents-Intervenors, California Electricity Oversight Board; Williams Power Company, Inc; Constellation Energy Commodities Group, Inc.; Portland General Electric Company; Avista Energy Inc.; Constellation Energy Commodities Group, Inc.; Enron Power Marketing, Inc.; City of Seattle, Washington; Midway Sunset Cogeneration Company, Applicants-Intervenors. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Petitioner, Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner-Intervenor, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent, Pacific Gas & Electric Company; Avista Energy; the City of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power; Enron Power Marketing Inc.; Portland General Electric Company; California Electricity Oversight Board; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Modesto Irrigation District; the City of Santa Clara; City of Redding, Respondents-Intervenors. California Public Utilities Commission; California Electricity Oversight Board, Petitioners, Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner-Intervenor, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. Southern California Edison Company, Petitioner, Pacific Gas & Electric Company; Coral Power, L.L.C..; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors, and California Electricity Oversight Board,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; California Public Utilities Commission; Pacific Gas & Electric Company; Southern California Edison Company, Petitioners, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; California Public Utilities Commission; Pacific Gas & Electric Company; San Diego Gas & Electric Company; Southern California Edison Company, Petitioners, Sacramento Municipal Utility District; City of Pasadena, California; Mieco, Inc., Intervenors,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; California Public Utilities Commission; Southern California Edison Company; Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Petitioners, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; California Public Utilities Commission; Southern California Edison Company; Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Petitioners, Mieco, Inc., Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; California Public Utilities Commission; Pacific Gas & Electric Company; Southern California Edison Company, Petitioners,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; California Public Utilities Commission; Pacific Gas & Electric Company; Southern California Edison Company, Petitioners, Midway Sunset Cogeneration Company, Intervenor,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; California Public Utilities Commission; Pacific Gas & Electric Company; Southern California Edison Company, Petitioners,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; California Public Utilities Commission; Pacific Gas & Electric Company; Southern California Edison Company, Petitioners,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent. The People of the State of California, ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General; California Public Utilities Commission; Pacific Gas & Electric Company; Southern California Edison Company, Petitioners,
v.
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Respondent.

          Argued and Submitted March 22, 2017 San Francisco, California

         On Petition for Review of an Order of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC No. EL00-000, et al.

          Stan Berman (argued) and Eric Todderud, Sidley Austin LLP, Seattle, Washington; Mark D. Patrizio and Joshua S. Levenberg, Pacific Gas and Electric Company; for Petitioner Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

          Candace J. Morey; Arocles Aguilar, General Counsel; San Francisco, California; as and for Petitioner Public Utilities Commission of the State of California.

          Kevin J. McKeon, Judith D. Cassel, and Whitney E. Snyder, Hawke McKeon & Sniscak LLP, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Danette E. Valdez, Supervising Deputy Attorney General; Martin Goyette, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Mark Breckler, Chief Assistant Attorney General; Office of the Attorney General, San Francisco, California; for Petitioners People of the State of California ex rel. Xavier Becerra, Attorney General.

          Richard L. Roberts and Catherine M. Giovannoni, Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Washington, D.C.; Russell C. Swartz, J. Eric Isken, and Russell A. Archer, Southern California Edison Company, Rosemead, California; for Petitioners Southern California Edison Company.

          Beth Guralnick Pacella (argued), Deputy Solicitor; Robert H. Solomon, Solicitor; Max Minzner, General Counsel; Washington, D.C., for Respondent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

          Before: Sidney R. Thomas, Chief Judge, and M. Margaret McKeown and Richard R. Clifton, Circuit Judges.

         SUMMARY[**]

         Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

         The panel granted in part, and denied in part, a petition for review brought by various entities challenging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC")'s calculation of certain refunds arising out of the California energy crisis in 2000 and 2001.

         The panel held that FERC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in its construction of tariffs, and denied the petition as to the question of whether refunds should be netted hourly or across the entire refund period. FERC found that in order to calculate the total refund shortfall resulting from Bonneville Power Administration v. FERC, 422 F.3d 908 (9th Cir. 2005), the California Independent System Operator Corporation should net sales and purchases over hourly intervals. FERC applied the same rationale to the California Power Exchange Corporation ("Cal-PX"), and directed it to perform its final refund netting purchases and sales over hourly intervals to reflect the period during which the obligation was incurred.

         Addressing a $5 million deficit in the Cal-PX settlement clearing account that resulted from a transfer of funds from the settlement clearing account to the operating account in March 2001, the panel held that FERC acted arbitrarily and capriciously in allocating the refund only to net buyers and not to all market participants. The panel granted the petition as to this issue.

          OPINION

          ...


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