FERC extends resilience comment date

Friday, March 23, 2018

Calling electric grid resilience "a critical issue for the American people and for our economy and national security," U.S. energy regulators have extended to May 9, 2018, a deadline for public comment on the resilience of the nation's bulk power system in organized wholesale markets.

The resilience of energy infrastructure is drawing increased public interest. Last year, U.S. Secretary of Energy proposed a rule for consideration by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission whose nominal focus was on incentivizing electric generator resilience and reliability. While the Commission terminated that rulemaking on January 8, 2018, without adopting new regulations, at the same time the Commission did initiate a new proceeding to evaluate the resilience of the bulk power system in the regions operated by the Regional Transmission Organizations and the Independent System Operators (RTOs/ISOs).

In that order, the Commission said it hoped the new case would develop a common understanding of what resilience of the bulk power system means and requires, identify how each RTO and ISO assesses resilience, help the Commission evaluate whether it should take additional action regarding resilience. At the time, the Commission directed six regional transmission organizations and independent system operators to respond within 60 days, and solicited public comment within 30 days of the grid operators' due date.

The case has drawn interest. Last week, a coalition of energy industry trade associations filed a motion requesting an extension of time of 30 days for interested entities to respond to the RTO/ISO filings.

In an order issued on March 20, 2018, the Commission described the resilience of the bulk power system as "a priority of this Commission and a critical issue for the American people and for our economy and national security." Noting the importance of basing next steps on the best available information, including "a robust record and as much relevant information and thoughtful input as possible," the Commission extended the time for interested entities to submit comments under the January 8 Order by 30 days – to May 9, 2018.

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