PG&E smart grid project first to be approved by FERC using new policy


A smart grid project from Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has become the first to be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under its new policy on priorities for the development of smart grid standards.

Using the policy, the FERC agreed that PG&E can recover a portion of its costs in transmission rates for a regional project that will ensure electric power reliability for consumers and integrate variable renewable resources into its system.

PG&E, with neighbouring utilities and the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, is developing a $50 million synchrophasor project that would provide real time data on key transmission system operating measurements in the region. The WECC has sought $25 million in grants for one half of PG&E’s portion of the project from the Department of Energy under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. PG&E will seek recovery of the remaining costs in a future transmission rate filing.

The FERC’s smart grid policy, adopted in July, provides guidance regarding smart grid development focusing on key standards to achieve interoperability, as well as an interim rate policy that allows the recovery of FERC jurisdictional smart grid-related costs.