FERC has announced the schedule for five regional conferences being held in August to address the coordination between the natural gas and electric industries. (See list of dates and locations below.) These technical conferences are part of FERC’s continued efforts to assess whether and to what extent it needs to take formal action with regard to coordination issues.
In February 2012, Commissioner Moeller requested comments on a number of questions related to the interconnection between the natural gas and electricity markets. These questions touched on issues such as:
- the role of FERC in overseeing coordination issues and the delegation of responsibility to other entities (NAESB, NERC, etc.);
- whether coordination issues should be tackled on a regional basis, taking into consideration those regions with and without organized energy markets;
- the effect of electric generators on natural gas transportation and the flows on natural gas pipelines given the anticipated increase in gas-fired generation;
- operational differences between the two industries and the need to harmonize standard business practices.
A wide range of industry participants submitted comments, and while there was some disagreement regarding the urgency of these issues, most agreed that some examination on a regional level would be productive. In response, FERC has scheduled the regional technical conferences to address four major areas: (1) communication/coordination/information sharing, (2) scheduling, (3) market structures and rules, and (4) reliability.
The technical conferences will take the form of roundtable discussions, with Commission members and staff taking part. FERC requests those wishing to attend the conferences to register by close of business on July 19, 2012 at http://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/registration/nat-gas-elec-mkts-form.asp. For those who want to participate in the roundtable discussion directly, there is an additional online form to complete: http://www.ferc.gov/industries/electric/indus-act/electric-coord.asp.
FERC has issued the following schedule and indicates that specific information about times, location and agendas will be forthcoming.
(MISO, SPP, ERCOT)
|August 6, 2012||St. Louis, MO|
|August 20, 2012||Boston, MA|
(Southern Co., Duke and Progress Energy, TVA and other areas south of PJM and east of SPP and ERCOT)
|August 23, 2012||Washington, DC (FERC HQ)|
(The Western Interconnection)
|August 28, 2012||Portland, OR|
(NY ISO, PJM and related areas)
|August 30, 2012||Washington, DC (FERC HQ)|