As the country rebuilds its aging transmission system, spending more than $14 billion this year alone, there’s a looming, unanswered question: who gets the bill?
Federal regulators are attempting to equitably distribute the costs, but a recent complaint by an Iowa utility shows that the issue is far from settled.
Interstate Power & Light Co. says its customers are unfairly shouldering the costs of connecting wind farms to the electricity grid. The utility, which is a subsidiary of Alliant Energy, wants federal regulators to spread the cost of local interconnection projects, which mostly benefit other utilities that import wind power, it says.
The company’s complaint against transmission company ITC Midwest is currently pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).
“The fundamental question here is: who pays?” said Jim Hoecker, general counsel for WIRES, a nonprofit that represents the electric transmission industry.