Tolling ruling could hit FERC Power Cases

Source: BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico • Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The D.C. Circuit Court ruling Tuesday that FERC must issue rulings on appeals to its pipeline approvals within 30 days could force the agency to move more quickly on disputed electricity cases as well, Pro’s Eric Wolff and Gavin Bade report.

In the 10-1 ruling, the court said FERC’s practice of using “tolling orders” to extend the time period for it to issue decisions on requests for rehearing of its pipeline approvals violated the Natural Gas Act. The language in that law is similar to the Federal Power Act, which defines FERC’s powers over the electric grid. Both laws give FERC 30 days to decide whether to rehear a case, and failing to meet that deadline is considered a denial of the request. Only after FERC issues a rehearing denial can petitioners take their challenge to court.

“It’s exactly the same language in the FPA,” said Ari Peskoe, director of the Electricity Law Initiative at Harvard Law. “The court would have to read the language in the FPA the way it’s reading the Natural Gas Act.”