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FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) has submitted 10 nominees to FERC to serve on the newly formed Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission. Last month in Docket No. AD21-15, FERC issued an order establishing a joint federal-state task force with NARUC to evaluate barriers and solutions to transmission development. The task force will conduct joint hearings on transmission-related issues with a focus on developing ways to plan and pay for new transmission facilities that are best for the public interest.

As its first directive, FERC charged NARUC with nominating 10 state commission representatives, with two representatives originating from each NARUC region: the Mid-Atlantic, Mid-America, New England, Southeastern, and Western regions. State commission representatives will serve one-year terms from the date of appointment by FERC and may serve up to three consecutive terms. While the task force will consist of only 10 state commission representatives, FERC has made it clear that all state commissions are invited to suggest agenda topics for public meetings of the task force and to submit comments on discussed topics before and after such meetings.

In addition to the 10 state commission representatives, the task force will consist of all FERC Commissioners, and staff from FERC, NARUC, and the state commissions of state commission representatives will also be appointed to support the work of the task force. The first meeting of the task force is expected to be held in the fall, with the following potential topics slated for consideration:

  • Identify barriers that inhibit planning and development of optimal transmission necessary to achieve federal and state policy goals, as well as potential solutions to those barriers
  • Explore potential bases for one or more states to use FERC-jurisdictional transmission planning processes to advance their policy goals, including multistate goals
  • Explore opportunities for states to voluntarily coordinate in order to identify, plan, and develop regional transmission solutions
  • Review FERC rules and regulations regarding planning and cost allocation of transmission projects and potentially identifying recommendations for reforms
  • Examine barriers to the efficient and expeditious interconnection of new resources through the FERC-jurisdictional interconnection processes, as well as potential solutions to those barriers
  • Discuss mechanisms to ensure that transmission investment is cost effective, including approaches to enhance transparency and improve oversight of transmission investment including, potentially, through enhanced federal-state coordination

The task force will serve as a forum to foster greater federal-state coordination and cooperation, and will allow FERC an opportunity to “confer with state commissions regarding the relationship between rate structures, costs, accounts, charges, practices, classifications, and regulations of public utilities subject to the jurisdiction of such state commissions and FERC, including through joint hearings” as authorized by Section 209(b) of the Federal Power Act. The task force may make written recommendations to FERC on potential modifications to FERC’s regulations, present recommendations at a monthly FERC open meeting, and develop a record to be incorporated into FERC and/or state commission proceedings.

The list of nominees is available at NARUC’s website.