Media April-June 2004
|News Release: April 5, 2004||View Printable PDF Version|
Statement of FERC Chairman Pat Wood, III on the
Final Report of the Joint U.S.-Canadian Blackout Task Force
"As a member of the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force, I fully support this report. Its recommendations will be meticulously reviewed at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. We will rapidly implement those recommendations that apply to the Commission, and will vigilantly oversee the industry's response to the report's findings and recommendations.
"However, the most important role for the Commission - overseeing mandatory grid-reliability standards - can't happen without passage of an energy policy bill that includes reliability legislation. I trust our nation's lawmakers to see past their differences and pass an energy bill with reliability legislation.
"Until the Congress acts on energy legislation, the Commission will do everything it can under its existing Federal Power Act authority to carry out the report's recommendations. The Commission will continue staffing its new reliability oversight division, and be ready for enactment of legislation that establishes authority for an industry electric reliability organization with Commission oversight.
"In the meantime, nine reliability readiness reviews have been completed, with two FERC staff engineers on every North American Electric Reliability Council readiness team. These are the first of 20 reviews scheduled to be completed by the end of June, before the summer peak-demand season begins. These reviews are examining the grid operators for 80% of the nation's electricity users. The reviews will give us assurance that these operators are managing the grid reliably and responsibly for the coming summer, and identify areas where operations need improvement. Audits covering the remainder of the country will be completed as soon as possible thereafter.
"The most important message that the nation, the electric industry, and its regulators should take away from this report is this: The August 14 blackout - and every major regional blackout that preceded it dating back to 1965 - could have been prevented if clear, common-sense reliability measures had been followed. The Commission will take this responsibility to heart. Our nation's electricity customers deserve better. Our economy, jobs and way of life depend on it."
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