FERC-NERC Preliminary Recommendations Take No Action to Protect Consumers from Another Uri

By Renée Lani posted 09-23-2021 12:18 PM

During the September 23 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Open Meeting, FERC staff, in partnership with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), released preliminary findings of their joint investigation into February’s Winter Storm Uri.  While APGA appreciates the efforts put forth by all stakeholders to investigate the events surrounding the severe winter weather that led to historic price increases for natural gas, APGA is disappointed that no recommendations were put forth to protect consumers from these types of market events in the future.

FERC commissioned the joint report shortly after the severe cold weather of Storm Uri caused significant supply issues, resulting in natural gas prices to increase by 300 percent in some cases.  The presentation at the FERC meeting was largely focused on electric reliability but also addressed natural gas supply issues, the winterization of natural gas infrastructure, and the impact of power outages on natural gas production.

In response to the presentation to FERC, APGA released a press statement expressing disappointment with the lack of a plan to address future price spikes resulting from severe weather events.  Included in the press statement is a link to the white paper that APGA developed, in coordination with members, which outlines potential solutions to protect consumers from these types of events in the future.  A final NERC-FERC report with findings and recommendations is anticipated to be released this winter.

In the meantime, APGA staff will also be engaging with legislators regarding the white paper, and expect these concerns to continue to be raised in upcoming hearings, such as the FERC hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee next week and the yet to be scheduled hearing for the recently nominated Willie L. Phillips, Jr. to fill the open FERC Commissioner role.

A copy of the FERC-NERC presentation is available here.

APGA’s related press statement is available here.

APGA’s Uri white paper can be found here

For questions on this article, please contact Renée Lani of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-0836 or by email at rlani@apga.org.