The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has an unexpected flair for naming its orders. Its most recent, Order 1000, has an air of finality that represents the closing of an era for the commission as much as it does the beginning of one for the industry.

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Few Americans understand fully the revolution in electricity delivery that FERC has led over the past 15 years, exposed only to the occasional missteps, from the collapse of Enron five years after the first open access rule, numbered 888, in 1996, to the strain on the transmission system today after a decade-long stand-off over how transmission projects should be planned and paid for.

Order 1000 is as complicated as many of the other rules FERC has finalized and published over its history, many of which foil all but specialists. But at its heart it deals with the simple issue of whether states can be forced to coordinate on transmission planning and meeting cost obligations for new electricity transmission capacity. The order, which is now at the mercy of pending and still nascent court filings, says that states can be compelled.

The attached document seeks to explain in the simplest way possible the new order’s planning requirements, cost allocation requirements, nonincumbent developer requirements and compliance. The complexity of the issues mean the document is emblazoned with a qualifier that its contents do not “necessarily reflect” the views of the bilateral commission.

Understanding the challenge to their potential regulated entities, FERC has planned three webinars in the early fall to “aid compliance” in both regions with regulated power pricing and those with open power markets regulated by regional transmission organizations (RTOs).

Breaking Energy has covered FERC’s Order 1000 extensively, as well as the ongoing fight over transmission policy. For more on the industry’s approach to FERC Order 1000, see Jon Hurdle’s story Paying For The New Grid. For more on the politics of the grid upgrade efforts, see Now Its US: White House Announces Smart Grid Initiatives.