The FERC is an independent administrative agency within the Department of Energy. Its mandate includes regulating the transmission, reliability, and wholesale sale of electricity in interstate commerce pursuant to the Federal Power Act; the transmission and sale of natural gas for resale in interstate commerce pursuant to the Natural Gas Act; the transportation of oil by pipeline in interstate commerce pursuant to the Interstate Commerce Act; and evaluating proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines, as well as the licensing of non - federal hydropower projects.
As described in a committee background memorandum for today's hearing, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power is exploring whether FERC’s statutory authorities require modernization to reflect current energy realities. Chief among those statutory authorities are the Federal Power Act and the Natural Gas Act. The committee memorandum also notes an interest in evaluating "whether FERC is overstepping its existing statutory boundaries to pursue policy goals not intended by Congress."
Specific issues expected to be examined at the hearing include:
- Potential impacts of the U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan rule on electricity markets, fuel diversity, and electric reliability;
- Commission oversight of organized wholesale electricity markets and their operation
- Risks to the security of the electric grid, including physical and cyber security, geomagnetic disturbances, electromagnetic pulse, and severe weather;
- How to integrate renewable, intermittent resources and distributed generation;
- The role of demand response and other demand-side management technologies in wholesale markets, at issue in the EPSA v. FERC case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court;
- Electric transmission operations and planning, including implementation of Order No. 1000;
- Natural gas pipeline permitting, LNG siting, and hydropower licensing;
- FERC market manipulation authorities and enforcement practices; and
- FERC’s implementation of the mandatory purchase obligation from qualifying facilities (QFs) under section 210 of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978.
Based on prefiled documents, today's hearing features:
- testimony by FERC Chairman Norman Bay
- testimony by Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur
- testimony by Commissioner Tony Clark
- testimony by Commissioner Colette Honorable