Power & Pipes

FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments

Describing what it considers "a significant number of outages of generating facilities" along with disruptions in natural gas deliveries during the recent extreme cold weather across Texas and the Southwest, on February 14, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) directed the creation of a staff task force to conduct a broad inquiry into those events. Unlike the FERC-led investigation following the 2008 Florida Blackout, this investigation is not, at this time, intended to discover whether any regulations, requirements, or standards were violated. Instead, the investigation is intended to identify (1) the causes of the outages and disruptions and (2) the actions FERC might undertake to prevent a recurrence of these issues.

The Commission acknowledged that the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) has announced an investigation of the bulk-power system reliability implications of these events, but FERC stressed that its own review would be a "broader inquiry," involving not only electric reliability issues under the Federal Power Act, but also issues under FERC's Natural Gas Act and Natural Gas Policy Act jurisdiction. The FERC task force will coordinate its efforts with the reviews conducted By NERC and the various affected states.

FERC directed the task force to report its findings and recommendations to the Commission following the completion of its review.

Read the order initiating the inquiry.

Read the Commission’s press release.