Save the Ozarks filed a new motion with the Arkansas Public Service Commission today, March 17, 2015. In this new filing, STO has asked the Commission to be allowed to submit its surreply to claims made jointly by SWEPCO, Southwest Power Pool (SPP), and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation (AECC). In particular STO seeks the opportunity to address the claim by SWEPCO, SPP and AECC that the Commission does not have the power to award compensation in this case or similar cases involving a utility company’s application for a Certificate of Convenience and Public Necessity for a transmission line project. STO’s motion is accompanied by the surreply the group is asking to submit as well as a supporting affidavit by Dr. Hyde M. Merrill, the nationally known transmission planning expert.
Dec. 30, 2014: SWEPCO filed a Notice of Withdrawal of its application to APSC for a CECPN for the Shipe Road – Kings River high voltage transmission line project.
January 12, 2015: STO responded to SWEPCO’s Notice of Withdrawal by asking the Commission to deny SWEPCO’s application, rather than allowing it to be simply withdrawn; to declare STO and other intervenors who challenged the need for project, as prevailing parties; and to award compensation for attorneys’ fees and litigation costs to prevailing parties, as supported by the Commission’s statutory authority, the Common Fund Doctrine, and/or the Commission’s authority to sanction misconduct of parties.
January 20, 2015: SWEPCO, SPP, and AECC filed a joint reply challenging STO’s request to be awarded attorneys’ fees and litigation costs as well as the Commission’s authority to order such compensation, arguing, “An award of attorneys’ fees as a sanction against a utility attempting to do what its regulators and RTO directed it to do will inevitably result in the failure of the regional transmission planning concept.”
Note: The Arkansas Public Service Commission has made no response to any motions, letters or other filings in this case since its Order 36 of June 9, 2014.