Power & Pipes

FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments

On February 15, 2012, FERC issued a notice announcing that it is establishing a docket to solicit comments exploring the extent to which the natural gas and electricity markets are interdependent and how FERC should oversee coordination between such markets. FERC explained that the creation of Docket No. AD12-12-000 is in response to a request for comments issued By Commissioner Philip Moeller on February 3, 2012.

FERC explains in its notice that electricity generation will increasingly rely on natural gas. As a result, the interdependence of the electricity and natural gas markets warrants careful attention.

FERC is requesting comments on the following specific issues:

  • What role should FERC have in overseeing better coordination between the electricity and natural gas markets?
  • What duties, if any, should be delegated to NERC, the North American Energy Standards Board, or other entities?
  • To what extent should FERC defer to various regions of the country in addressing these challenges?
  • Should FERC view organized electricity markets differently from bilateral electricity markets?
  • If regional deference is given, what role should FERC play to assure that regional agreements are adhered to?
  • Does FERC need to address the possibility that expanded use of natural gas for electricity generation will cause a change in flows on the natural gas pipeline system?
  • How should FERC harmonize the electricity and natural gas trading markets so that the markets are open on the same days and do not differ as significantly as they currently do?
  • What will be the impact of the expected retirements of coal- and oil-fired generation on the need for gas and electricity coordination?
  • To what extent should FERC consider modifying its existing Standards of Conduct with regulated utilities to ensure greater coordination of the electricity and natural gas industries?
  • Will progress in coordinating electricity and natural gas markets be achieved faster if policies are addressed in several topical areas, such as communication, operation, contracting, and planning/contingency analysis?

Comments may be filed with FERC electronically in Docket No. AD12-12-000. FERC has requested comments on or before March 30, 2012.