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Hydro licensees challenge FERC charges for land they own


From the November 30, 2012 issue of Public Power Daily

Originally published November 30, 2012

A group of nine hydroelectric licensees have petitioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to stop collecting annual charges for licensees’ use and occupancy of lands that they own but that are subject to a "power site reservation" under Section 24 of the Federal Power Act. The charges are arbitrary, capricious and inconsistent with the language, structure and purpose of Part I of the FPA, the licensees said. The charges total approximately $80,000 annually, the nine licensees said.

The statute plainly authorizes the collection of charges only for the "use, occupancy, and enjoyment" of federal lands, the licensees said. Charging licensees "for lands that they own in fee and for which they paid fair market value is per se unreasonable," the group said. The lands are subject to a power site reservation, which reserves the authority of the federal government and its licensees to enter, occupy and use the lands for hydro power purposes. 

The nine licensees are: Alaska Electric Light and Power Co.; Alaska Energy Authority; City and Borough of Sitka, Alaska; Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County, Wash.; Public Utility District No. 1 of Snohomish County, Wash.; Public Utility District No. 2 of Grant County, Wash.; Sabine River Authority of Texas; Sabine River Authority, Louisiana; and Southeast Alaska Power Agency.

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