FERC Remains An Independent Agency

In January, FERC rejected Secretary Perry’s proposal to compensate generators who maintain a 90-day supply of fuel on-site – a proposal widely seen as an attempt to prop up struggling coal and nuclear generators.  Not willing to take no for an answer, the Administration has recently floated the idea of using authority under the Federal Power Act and the Defense Production Act to require power purchases from coal and nuclear plans in order to address the national security emergency apparently resulting from the threatened shutdown of these facilities.

According to a report from E&E News (subscription required), at a Senate hearing yesterday, Senator Martin Heinrich asked all of the FERC commissioners the following question:

Do any of you believe that in the wholesale power markets we’re facing an actual national security emergency?

Commissioner LaFleur stated that she did not.  Senator Heinrich then asked if any of the remaining commissioners would answer yes.  None of them responded.  I’m sure that the silent pause made great political theater.

I am shocked to discover that FERC is not persuaded that national security requires interference in the power markets.

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