On Aug. 8, 2017, Carmen Cintron, FERC’s Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), issued orders in two proceedings denying joint motions for limited extension of time to file reply comments on related settlements filed by Southwest Power Pool Inc. (SPP) after finding the motions “without merit.”

The movants’ position that they need more time to formulate reply comments due to the complexity of the opposing parties’ comments “is unsubstantiated and does not provide sufficient grounds for departing from the standard comment window adopted by the Commission.”

The Chief ALJ explained that, pursuant to Rule 602, comments are due no later than 20 days, and reply comments are due no later than 30 days, after the filing of an offer of settlement, unless otherwise provided by the Commission or the presiding officer.

“The need for an expeditious conclusion to the settlement review process is also particularly acute in this instance given the already drawn out posture of this phase of the proceeding, which has spanned almost 2 years since the Commission issued its order establishing hearing and settlement judge procedures in September 2015. All of the participants have an interest in achieving finality and a timely resolution of the issues in this proceeding, and the requested expansion of the period for reply comments only serves to compromise those interests.”

For these reasons, “the reply comment deadline of August 11, 2017, is unchanged as established by Rule 602.”

The settlements, filed on July 12, 2017, are intended to resolve the issues set for hearing relating to Corn Belt Power Cooperative’s (Docket No. ER15-2028-000) and Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative’s (Docket No. ER15-2115-000) Annual Transmission Revenue Requirement and Formula Rate Template and Formula Rate Implementation Protocols.

See ¶602-60: Settlements — Comments for more summaries of orders discussing the settlement comment timelines.

Southwest Power Pool Inc., Docket Nos. ER15-2028-000 and ER15-2115-000 “Order of Chief Judge Denying Joint Motion for Limited Extension of Time to File Reply Comments” (Aug. 8, 2017) (C.J. Cintron) (Unreported).