FERC schedules COVID impact technical conference

Friday, May 22, 2020

U.S. energy regulators have scheduled a two-day virtual technical conference "to consider the ongoing, serious impacts that the emergency conditions caused by COVID-19 are having on various segments of the United States’ energy industry."

On May 20, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Notice of Technical Conference in Docket AD20-17-000, announcing that the Commission will convene a Commissioner-led technical conference on July 8 and 9, to "serve as a public forum for the Commission and energy stakeholders to discuss a wide range of energy issues that the country faces going forward as it recovers from the COVID-19 emergency."

The Commission and its staff have already adopted several measures to provide the public and regulated entities with short-term regulatory relief during the emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic, including orders and notices issued on March 19 and April 2, and the designation of a Pandemic Liaison for the energy industry. According to the technical conference notice, "the Commission now wants to explore the potential longer-term impacts on the entities that it regulates in order to ensure the continued efficient functioning of energy markets, transmission of electricity, transportation of natural gas and oil, and reliable operation of energy infrastructure today and in the future, while also protecting consumers."

The notice describes the conference as providing the public "an opportunity to hear high-level discussions of how COVID-19 has impacted the energy industry" from speakers serving on multiple panels. According to the notice, topics discussed will include:
(1) the energy industry’s ongoing and potent Docket No. AD20-17-000 2 moving forward; (2) the potential impacts of changes in electric demand on operations, planning, and infrastructure development; (3) the potential impacts of changes in natural gas and oil demand on operations, planning, and infrastructure development; and (4) issues related to access to capital, including credit, liquidity, and return on equity issues.
The July 8-9 technical conference will be open for the public to attend remotely; the Commission encourages members of the public to preregister online.

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