On May 20, FERC granted SunZia Transmission's ("SunZia") petition for FERC's approval of the ownership structure and transmission service plans for the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project (the "Project"). SunZia had requested that each of its investor-owners be allocated ownership rights representing 100 percent of its respective pro rata investment in the Project, and that certain of the investor-owners be able to allocate up to 50 percent of their pro rata shares of transmission capacity to anchor tenants through long-term negotiated transmission contracts. In May 2010, FERC rejected SunZia's request to allocate 100 percent of the Project's transmission capacity (as opposed to ownership rights) among the owners according to their pro rata investment in the Project's capacity and ruled that the owners do not have exclusive rights to the Project's capacity equal to their share of investment in the Project.
FERC approved the revised petition, stating that each owner is a transmission owner/provider of Project capacity in proportion to its investment in the Project. Consequently, SunZia's owners have ownership shares in the Project in proportion to their pro rata investment, but the owners do not have the equivalent exclusive right to capacity rights. Rather, FERC's open access policies will govern the extent to which investment in a transmission project grants a party transmission service rights.
FERC also approved SunZia's proposal to allocate no more than 50 percent of certain owners' capacity to anchor tenants and to make the remaining initial capacity available through an open season process. FERC's conclusion with respect to the share allocated to an anchor tenant was consistent with the maximum allocation approved to date. In addition, FERC stated that although an owner may not allocate any of its presubscribed shares to an affiliate, certain of the owners themselves are unaffiliated with other owners, and unaffiliated owners may contract with each other as anchor tenants. FERC determined that the risks of preferential treatment among co-owners is reduced because open season participants also must be offered anchor tenant terms.
SunZia Transmission, LLC, 135 FERC ¶ 61,169 (2011).