On January 8, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order terminating the rulemaking proceeding initiated by the Secretary of Energy under §403(a) of the Department of Energy Organization Act that proposed to develop cost recovery mechanisms for “grid reliability and resiliency resources.”  While declining to adopt the Secretary’s proposal, FERC acknowledged the importance of grid resilience and initiated a new proceeding to seek additional information from FERC-jurisdictional Independent System Operators (ISOs) and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) to evaluate the resilience of the bulk power system in those regions. Background On September 29, 2017, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, exercising a rarely-used... READ MORE
In a January 8 opinion, the Ninth Circuit remanded the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) decision authorizing Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to recover a 50 basis point return on equity (ROE) adder in its transmission revenue requirement for maintaining its membership in the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO).   FERC’s action on remand bears monitoring by those utilities that recover an ROE adder for participation in a Commission-authorized  regional transmission organization (RTO) or independent system operator (ISO), particularly to the extent such participation is mandated by state law.   Background The 50 basis point ROE Adder for RTO or ISO participation (RTO Adder) has been a fixture of FERC transmission... READ MORE
In four orders issued December 21, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission continued its examination of price formation in the wholesale electricity markets administered by RTOs and ISOs. READ MORE
The CSIS Energy & National Security Program and Van Ness Feldman are pleased to announce a conference on the history of vehicle efficiency standards and electricity regulation in honor of the late Robert Nordhaus. This program looks at the evolution of two policy areas in which Bob made an important mark, and which raise issues of great significance today. Van Ness Feldman partner Doug Smith is participating in a panel discussing current technology changes in the electric power sector and the lessons learned from past reform periods. The conference is being held at the CSIS headquarters in Washington, DC on October 19, 2017 from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm.  Click here for more information and to register. READ MORE
Several Van Ness Feldman attorneys will be presenting at this year's HydroVision International conference in Denver, CO on June 27-30, 2017.  Mike Swiger and Chuck Sensiba will be participating on a panel discussing FAST, WRDA, HREA and other regulatory developments that will affect hydro licensing. Julia Wood will be speaking on new approaches to mitigation in the United States and  Maranda Compton, member of our Native Affairs practice, will be speaking on building relationships with Tribes/First Nations to improve water management.  As the largest gathering of hydro professionals worldwide, HydroVision features 3000+ attendees and 320+ exhibiting companies from around the world for a week of informative hydropower-focused meetings, workshops... READ MORE
At Van Ness Feldman, our professional accomplishments are only as important as the more personal and long-lasting partnerships we are able to achieve within the communities we call home.  Recently, several of the firm’s young associates have demonstrated that this commitment to community service is not just a professional obligation, but one that is an individual, personal calling that highlights the best in all of us. READ MORE
Seasons Greetings! Best Wishes for a Peaceful Holiday Season and an Abundant and Joyous New Year.   READ MORE
It is with heavy hearts that we mark the passing of one of our founding fathers, Bill Van Ness, Jr. on Tuesday, November 21st.   Bill was a beloved friend, colleague, brother, father, and mentor. He was a visionary, finding the possibilities in every circumstance, and always keeping those around him focused on achieving the best outcome.  His accomplishments as a legislative craftsman and lawyer are legendary and impacted countless individuals throughout his lifetime and beyond.  He seamlessly married effective representation of clients and a lifelong dedication to public service, always stressing the importance of honest advocacy and the need to listen to, address, and balance all sides of important policy issues. As meaningful as Bill’s... READ MORE
On December 7, 2017, Kevin McIntyre was sworn in as Commissioner and Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  Mr. McIntyre was previously practicing law in Washington, D.C.  He succeeds Neil Chatterjee as FERC Chairman, who was serving as Chairman since August 10, 2017, and remains a FERC Commissioner.  With Chairman McIntyre sworn in, FERC has been restored to a full panel of five commissioners since December 7. READ MORE
FERC FERC Issues Draft NOPR on Cyber Security Incident Reporting – December 21 – FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), which if adopted would instruct NERC to modify its Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) reliability standards to heighten reporting requirements for cybersecurity incidents.   The NOPR proposes identifying the types of incidents for which an entity must submit reports more expansively, as well as increasing the information in each report to allow for easier comparison and analysis.  Reports would have to be submitted to the Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (E-ISAC) and Department of Homeland Security Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT).  The NOPR would also... READ MORE
PHMSA’s Technical Advisory Committees Convene Meetings On December 13, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) and Hazardous Liquid Pipeline Advisory Committee (LPAC) held a joint meeting to discuss a variety of pipeline safety program and policy issues. The GPAC and the LPAC are peer review committees established under the Pipeline Safety Laws that advise PHMSA on proposed safety standards and make recommendations regarding their “technical feasibility, reasonableness, cost-effectiveness, and practicability.”  PHMSA Administrator Howard “Skip” Elliott emphasized the agency’s goal of zero pipeline incidents and the importance of technology, research, and development to obtaining that... READ MORE