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FIA-14-0006 - In the Matter of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy

On February 3, 2014 the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) issued a decision denying an (Appeal) from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) determination issued by the Loan Programs Office (LPO). The Appellant appealed LPO’s decision to withhold information in the released documents pursuant to Exemption 5, and contested the adequacy of LPO’s search for documents.  LPO provided the Appellant with the credit subsidy cost estimate matrices for the Oglethorpe Power Corporation (OPC) and the Georgia Power Company (GPC) and made redactions on those documents.  The costs were provided to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to either approve or modify, before OMB would get back to LPO to provide those amounts to the companies.  Thus, OHA concluded that the matrices were predecisional as they were not yet reviewed by OMB, and accordingly, LPO properly invoked Exemption 5.  Moreover, the Appellant argued that LPO should have provided the credit cost estimate matrix for a third company – the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG), and OHA agreed that the scope of the Appellant’s Request did not include MEAG’s credit subsidy costs as it was not yet transferred to OMB for review.