FERC refuses to extend comment period on grid rule

Source: Sam Mintz, E&E News reporter • Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a request by a coalition of energy trade groups to extend the comment period for its rulemaking on electric grid resilience.

Its decision affirmed that FERC will work with the compressed timeline proposed for the rulemaking by the Department of Energy.

The DOE proposal would help coal and nuclear power plants by allowing the owners of facilities that maintain a 90-day, on-site supply of fuel to recover their full costs plus a rate of return.

An unlikely alliance of trade associations — including the American Petroleum Institute, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, several renewable energy groups and the Industrial Energy Consumers of America — had asked FERC to extend its comment period to 90 days to allow stakeholders more time to evaluate the proposal and comment on it.

But the commission rejected that request with no explanation: “Upon consideration, the motions of the Energy Industry Associations, Independent Producers, and Industrial Energy Consumers of America for extension of time to file comments are hereby denied. Comments on the Proposal are due on or before October 23, 2017 and reply comments are due on or before November 7, 2017.”

Many companies, nonprofits and individuals have already commented on the proposal. The Nuclear Information and Resource Service submitted today more than 10,000 comments it collected from people opposing DOE’s move.

Most of the comments to date have had to do with the proposal’s timeline and process. But with their motion rejected, groups in the oil and gas and renewables industries may weigh in on the substance of the proposed rulemaking.