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16 U.S. Code § 824q - Native load service obligation

(a) DefinitionsIn this section:
The term “distribution utility” means an electric utility that has a service obligation to end-users or to a State utility or electric cooperative that, directly or indirectly, through one or more additional State utilities or electric cooperatives, provides electric service to end-users.
The term “load-serving entity” means a distribution utility or an electric utility that has a service obligation.
The term “service obligation” means a requirement applicable to, or the exercise of authority granted to, an electric utility under Federal, State, or local law or under long-term contracts to provide electric service to end-users or to a distribution utility.
The term “State utility” means a State or any political subdivision of a State, or any agency, authority, or instrumentality of any one or more of the foregoing, or a corporation that is wholly owned, directly or indirectly, by any one or more of the foregoing, competent to carry on the business of developing, transmitting, utilizing, or distributing power.
(b) Meeting service obligations
(1) Paragraph (2) applies to any load-serving entity that, as of August 8, 2005
owns generation facilities, markets the output of Federal generation facilities, or holds rights under one or more wholesale contracts to purchase electric energy, for the purpose of meeting a service obligation; and
by reason of ownership of transmission facilities, or one or more contracts or service agreements for firm transmission service, holds firm transmission rights for delivery of the output of the generation facilities or the purchased energy to meet the service obligation.
Any load-serving entity described in paragraph (1) is entitled to use the firm transmission rights, or, equivalent tradable or financial transmission rights, in order to deliver the output or purchased energy, or the output of other generating facilities or purchased energy to the extent deliverable using the rights, to the extent required to meet the service obligation of the load-serving entity.
To the extent that all or a portion of the service obligation covered by the firm transmission rights or equivalent tradable or financial transmission rights is transferred to another load-serving entity, the successor load-serving entity shall be entitled to use the firm transmission rights or equivalent tradable or financial transmission rights associated with the transferred service obligation.
Subsequent transfers to another load-serving entity, or back to the original load-serving entity, shall be entitled to the same rights.
The Commission shall exercise the authority of the Commission under this chapter in a manner that facilitates the planning and expansion of transmission facilities to meet the reasonable needs of load-serving entities to satisfy the service obligations of the load-serving entities, and enables load-serving entities to secure firm transmission rights (or equivalent tradable or financial rights) on a long-term basis for long-term power supply arrangements made, or planned, to meet such needs.
(c) Allocation of transmission rights

Nothing in subsections (b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(3) of this section shall affect any existing or future methodology employed by a Transmission Organization for allocating or auctioning transmission rights if such Transmission Organization was authorized by the Commission to allocate or auction financial transmission rights on its system as of January 1, 2005, and the Commission determines that any future allocation or auction is just, reasonable and not unduly discriminatory or preferential, provided, however, that if such a Transmission Organization never allocated financial transmission rights on its system that pertained to a period before January 1, 2005, with respect to any application by such Transmission Organization that would change its methodology the Commission shall exercise its authority in a manner consistent with the [1] chapter and that takes into account the policies expressed in subsections (b)(1), (b)(2), and (b)(3) as applied to firm transmission rights held by a load-serving entity as of January 1, 2005, to the extent the associated generation ownership or power purchase arrangements remain in effect.

(d) Certain transmission rights

The Commission may exercise authority under this chapter to make transmission rights not used to meet an obligation covered by subsection (b) available to other entities in a manner determined by the Commission to be just, reasonable, and not unduly discriminatory or preferential.

(e) Obligation to build

Nothing in this chapter relieves a load-serving entity from any obligation under State or local law to build transmission or distribution facilities adequate to meet the service obligations of the load-serving entity.

(f) Contracts

Nothing in this section shall provide a basis for abrogating any contract or service agreement for firm transmission service or rights in effect as of August 8, 2005. If an ISO in the Western Interconnection had allocated financial transmission rights prior to August 8, 2005, but had not done so with respect to one or more load-serving entities’ firm transmission rights held under contracts to which the preceding sentence applies (or held by reason of ownership or future ownership of transmission facilities), such load-serving entities may not be required, without their consent, to convert such firm transmission rights to tradable or financial rights, except where the load-serving entity has voluntarily joined the ISO as a participating transmission owner (or its successor) in accordance with the ISO tariff.

(g) Water pumping facilities

The Commission shall ensure that any entity described in section 824(f) of this title that owns transmission facilities used predominately to support its own water pumping facilities shall have, with respect to the facilities, protections for transmission service comparable to those provided to load-serving entities pursuant to this section.


This section shall not apply within the area referred to in section 824k(k)(2)(A) of this title.

(i) Jurisdiction

This section does not authorize the Commission to take any action not otherwise within the jurisdiction of the Commission.

(j) TVA area
Subject to paragraphs (2) and (3), for purposes of subsection (b)(1)(B), a load-serving entity that is located within the service area of the Tennessee Valley Authority and that has a firm wholesale power supply contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority shall be considered to hold firm transmission rights for the transmission of the power provided.
Nothing in this subsection affects the requirements of section 824k(j) of this title.
The Commission shall not issue an order on the basis of this subsection that is contrary to the purposes of section 824k(j) of this title.
(k) Effect of exercising rights

An entity that to the extent required to meet its service obligations exercises rights described in subsection (b) shall not be considered by such action as engaging in undue discrimination or preference under this chapter.

(June 10, 1920, ch. 285, pt. II, § 217, as added Pub. L. 109–58, title XII, § 1233(a), Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 957.)

[1]  So in original. Probably should be “this”.
Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
FERC Rulemaking on Long-Term Transmission Rights in Organized Markets

Pub. L. 109–58, title XII, § 1233(b), Aug. 8, 2005, 119 Stat. 960, provided that:

“Within 1 year after the date of enactment of this section [Aug. 8, 2005] and after notice and an opportunity for comment, the [Federal Energy Regulatory] Commission shall by rule or order, implement section 217(b)(4) of the Federal Power Act [16 U.S.C. 824q(b)(4)] in Transmission Organizations, as defined by that Act [16 U.S.C. 791a et seq.] with organized electricity markets.”