AGA released a press statement supporting the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s efforts to bring the gas-electric coordination discussion to the top of its policymaking agenda. FERC has opened up a new proceeding (or “docket”) on its website (Docket No. AD12-12-000) to receive public comments on gas-electric issues and to determine where and how FERC can play an important role in facilitating stakeholder discussions. A variety of factors have spurred this outreach effort by FERC, including the increasing use of natural gas for power generation and recent events like the February 2011 Southwest power outages.
While FERC typically seeks public comments proposals to regulate the energy industry, AD12-12-000 is a discussion docket that will house responses by interested parties to specific requests by Commissioner Phillip Moeller and Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur. Commissioner Moeller has released a statement seeking comments on gas-electric coordination, and Commissioner LaFleur has followed with requests for comments on five specific areas which may be addressed in Docket No. AD12-12-000. Comments from the public in response to both Commissioners’ requests are due on March 30, 2012.
FERC has also collaborated with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) to plan recommendations for improving coordination among the natural gas and power markets. At the recent NARUC winter meetings, Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, Commissioner John Norris and Commissioner LaFleur participated in a gas-electric scenario exercise to simulate a cold-weather gas shortage event that could impact power supply. The participants in this “emerging issues” collaborative included a representative from National Fuel Gas, an AGA member company serving Western New York and Pennsylvania. Soon after this meeting, Commissioner Moeller stated that “Although comprehensive solutions may take longer to implement, we must make actual improvements to the system now,” and added that “national and regional policies need to be advanced prior to the next heating season.”
Stay tuned for comments to FERC from AGA, to be filed on March 30, 2012.