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Okla. municipal power authority seeks to take on members' PURPA mandatory purchase obligations

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Okla. municipal power authority seeks to take on members' PURPA mandatory purchase obligations

Notingthat it acts as the full requirements wholesale power supplier to 42 member municipalities,the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authorityasked FERC for permission to assume those munis' obligations under the Public UtilityRegulatory Policies Act to purchase power from qualifying facilities, or QFs, intheir service territories.

AllowingOMPA to deal directly with the QFs in purchasing energy and capacity is appropriatesince OMPA already is responsible for preparing systemwide load forecasts, predictingpower supply needs and coordinating and planning resources in order to meet thoseneeds on behalf of its members, according to the filing.

Members"do not engage in independent planning to meet their power supply needs"and therefore integration of supply resources "is essential to OMPA's abilityto perform this primary function," the filing explained. Insisting that itis "ready and willing to stand in the shoes of its authorizing members by payingQFs its full avoided cost for their power," OMPA said waiving those members'PURPA mandatory purchase obligation is consistent with that obligation's underlyingpurpose of encouraging cogeneration and small power production.

Moreover,because it is prohibited by state statute from providing retail electric serviceand lacks the organization structure and personnel needed to make retail sales,OMPA also asked that FERC waive its obligation to sell energy and capacity to theQFs within its members' service territories. Instead, OMPA members, who alreadypossess "the experience, staff, distribution facilities, and other attributesneeded to provide reliable retail service," will make those sales under theirexisting retail tariffs or at rates comparable to those they charge other similarlysituated customers, OMPA explained.

"Thejoint PURPA implementation plan allows OMPA and the authorizing members to implementtheir policy of encouraging QFs, while maintaining the functional division of powersupply responsibilities between OMPA and its authorizing members," the filingexplained. OMPA stressed that no QF will be subject to any duplicative interconnectionor wheeling charges as a result of the plan. (EL16-67)