If a utility needed a transmission line, it proposed the line, went through the necessary approvals and permitting processes, and then built the line. This was because utilities were allowed to build any needed line in their own service territories.
Order 1000 covers a great deal of ground regarding the building of large transmission lines. The Order itself (external link) can be found at the FERC website. Among other things, the order requires that large projects go through competitive bidding to help keep costs lower as well as receiving input from affected communities.
The FERC created Order 1000 out of a belief that sufficient electric transmission infrastructure was not being built and that injecting competition into the construction and ownership of transmission would result in more transmission being built.
It is possible. Because we participate in RTO planning processes, it is unlikely those processes will identify more transmission needs simply because of Order 1000. The planning processes in the RTOs remain largely unchanged. However, Order 1000 could mean Xcel Energy has the opportunity to compete to build transmission projects in other areas that would ordinarily have been directly assigned to the transmission owners in those areas.
The Transcos will have minimal incremental impact on rates since the competitively-bid projects will be constructed whether or not Xcel Energy is involved in the bidding process. Xcel Energy customers will only pay a percentage of project costs and thus will be impacted by possible rate increases if projects are built in an Xcel Energy service territory.
Xcel Energy’s ability to build and deliver transmission projects is important in ensuring its customers receive the reliable service they want and need at a competitive price.