FERC Issues Order on Electric-Gas Coordination
After a series of regional conferences, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") recently issued an order that sets out the next steps in exploring issues related to coordination between the natural gas and electric industries. Responding to concerns heard during the August 2012 conferences, the Commission directs staff to conduct two technical conferences: one to focus on ways to enhance communication between the industries and another on how to design the most efficient scheduling systems for the industries. In additon to the technical conferences, staff must report to the Commission on the natural gas and electric coordination activities at least once each quarter in 2013 and 2014.
The Order requires the regional power market operators to appear before the Commission on May 16, 2013, and October 17, 2013, to detail their efforts and progress in improving coordination between the industries. The Commission also wants to hear about any natural gas transportation concerns that arise during the winter heating season and any fuel-related generator outages during the winter and spring.
The Commission also released a staff report detailing discussions from the five regional conferences. The following concerns were common across regions:
- communications, coordination, and information sharing, including the Standards of Conduct and prohibitions on undue preference and discrimination;
- scheduling-related issues, including the no-bump rule and pipeline capacity release policies;
- electric resource adequacy, including RTO and ISO wholesale electric capacity markets; and
- reliability issues.
Having attended the Mid-Atlantic conference, one thing is clear - the conversation definitely needs to continue. The biggest obstacle just might be today's weather.