Senators introduce bill to support public participation in FERC processes

Published on June 01, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

A group of U.S. senators recently introduced legislation aimed at assisting residential and small commercial energy consumers in participating in Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) processes that affect them.

The Public Engagement at FERC Act would create an Office of Public Participation and Consumer Advocacy at FERC, which would participate in FERC proceedings. The office would also reach out to the public in order to help ensure that their interests are represented, encourage the public’s participation in FERC processes and work to better incorporate public opinion into industry and FERC practices.

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Al Franken (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren
(D-MA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Public Engagement at FERC
Act. Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“Dialogue with local communities should be an important part of the FERC process,” Warner said. “But as it stands now, citizens often find it confusing and difficult to get their questions answered and provide input on proposed pipelines. Establishing the Office of Public Participation and Consumer Advocacy will ensure that the public has a stronger voice at FERC as it considers pending projects.”

In 1978, Congress authorized FERC to create an Office of Public Participation under the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act (PURPA). The authorization has been in effect for nearly 40 years, FERC never created the office.