The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a final rule revising electric transmission planning and cost allocation requirements for public utility transmission providers. The rule, which the commission passed on a 5-0 vote, will require utilities and regional grid operators to better coordinate their plans for building new high-voltage transmission lines, take into account the goals of 30 states promoting renewable energy generation, and spread the construction costs among more energy users.

Effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, the rule establishes requirements for transmission cost allocation, which include that (i) each public utility transmission provider must participate in a regional transmission planning process that has a regional cost allocation method; (ii) public utility transmission providers in neighboring transmission planning regions must have a common interregional cost allocation method for new transmission facilities; and (iii) although participant-funding of new transmission facilities is permitted, it is not allowed as the regional or interregional cost allocation method. According to press reports, a number of utilities oppose the rule. See BNA Daily Environment Report, July 22, 2011.