Congressman Pallone Questions PJM on Transparency and Accountability of Transmission Projects

Jul 26, 2017

Washington, DC – Today, at an Energy and Commerce hearing titled “Powering America: A Review of the Operation and Effectiveness of the Nation’s Wholesale Electricity Markets,” Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) questioned witnesses from the energy industry on transparency for transmission projects. Witnesses included Craig Glazer, an executive at PJM Interconnection, which is a major backer of JCP&L’s Monmouth County Reliability Project (MCRP). Pallone has been a frequent critic of the MCRP and used the hearing as an opportunity raise important questions about the project. Many communities in New Jersey have also citizen the plan.

During his questioning of Glazer, Congressman Pallone stated “summer peak load forecasts for PJM’s annual reliability planning have been consistently and significantly over estimated for the past 8 years, even as the actual use of electricity in New Jersey has declined.  Some projects that have been approved by PJM and have been constructed based on these overly optimistic forecasts have resulted in underutilized transmission lines.” The Congressman added “It certainly sounds like more needs to be done at PJM – and the other RTOs – to formally consider consumer perspectives.”

In his opening statement Congressman Pallone focused on the importance of reviewing the value of transmission lines. “Reliability and resiliency are no longer defined solely by transmission and baseload generation assets.   In some cases, I’ve seen transmission projects needlessly rubberstamped in the name of reliability.  There are certainly other ways to address reliability than just gold plating the transmission system.  Newer and bigger transmission lines are no longer always the best or most cost-effective answer to the question of how we improve reliability.  It’s time for the RTOs to begin to adapt to this new reality.  Distributed energy resources –renewable and otherwise—along with efficiency and demand response, are equally important.”

Video of the Congressman Pallone’s questions can be found here.

In a letter to James Fakult, President of Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) earlier this year , Congressman Pallone called on JCP&L to withdraw the proposed MCRP. In that letter he wrote My opposition to this project stems from two primary issues; my skepticism that the MCRP is the best and most cost-effective way to ensure reliability in Monmouth County, and the near universal opposition from the communities that would be affected by this project.” The plan for JCP&L’s new transmission line would impact Aberdeen, Hazlet and Middletown in Pallone’s district and run along New Jersey Transit’s North Jersey Coast line.