Timeline History FERC and the States

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FERC Timeline
1920 | 1928 | 1930 | 1934 | 1935 | 1938 | 1940 | 1954 | 1955 | 1960 | 1961 | 1964 | 1970 | 1971 | 1977 | 1978 | 1980 | 1992 | 1996 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2010

The Federal Water Power Act of 1920 created the Federal Power Commission (FPC), but the Commission was under the joint authority of the secretaries of War, Agriculture, and the Interior.

In 1928, Congress grants the FPC its own funding and enables it to have its own staff, independent of the three executive departments.
The Federal Power Act of 1930 established the commission as a five member, bi-partisan organization.

In 1934, the FPC was directed by Congress to conduct a survey of electric rates throughout the country. The Commission also began its first National Power Survey, analyzing the growth of the nation's electric utilities
The Federal Power Act of 1935 expanded the FPC's mission. The FPC began to integrate local utilities into regional systems to increase efficiency.

The Natural Gas Act of 1938 gave the FPC jurisdiction over the natural gas pipeline industry. FERC was charged with regulating the sale and transportation of natural gas.
In the 1940s, America underwent a rapid expansion of natural gas storage and pipeline construction. The FPC struggled to keep up with the flood of applications related to the transmission of natural gas. Numerous abbreviated hearing and processing techniques were employed to cope with the overabundance of applications.

Phillips Petroleum Co. v. Wisconsin, 1954. This Supreme Court decision resulted in an expansion of the FPC's jurisdiction, and in the aftermath of the decision, natural gas applications under the Natural Gas Act exploded, far exceeding the volume of electrical and hydroelectric regulation handled by the FPC.
In 1955, the FPC institutes "Area-Rates," which set uniform rates for all distributors in a region.

In December of 1960, James M. Landis turned in a report on all the Federal Regulatory Agencies to president-elect Kennedy. The Landis report criticized the FPC for being inefficient and too pro-utility.
In 1961, the FPC instituted new policies to further streamline the application process. The country was divided into 23 "producing areas," each with its own price ceiling.

In 1964, through regional pricing techniques, staff increases, and their first-ever use of computers, the FPC was able to cut the average time for gas pipeline approval from 12 down to 7 weeks.
In 1970, the task of coordinating federal efforts to cope with electricity shortages was taken from the FPC and given to the Office of Emergency Preparedness.

1971, concerned with dwindling reserves of natural gas, the FPC raised price ceilings in an effort to stimulate production.
In 1977, the FPC was converted into FERC. While FERC initially faced all of the same challenges as the FPC, fundamental changes in the industries that FERC regulated and major paperwork-reduction initiatives would soon simplify the regulatory process.
In 1978, the National Energy Act, which includes the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), was passed. This Act was a response to the OPEC oil embargo of the 1970's. While the law initially increased FERC's workload by unifying the intrastate and interstate gas markets, it also provided for the gradual deregulation of Natural Gas. At that time, a major component of FERC's work burden was setting the prices for interstate natural gas on a year-by-year basis.

In the early 1980's FERC's workload continued to expand as the agency faced the challenge of trying to enhance the nation's energy self-sufficiency. As usual, regulatory reform focused on creating simpler approval procedures and eliminating direct oversight of utilities. Blanket gas certifications were implemented during this period, and more authority was delegated to the regional directors.

The Energy Policy Act of 1992 was passed. This Act encouraged FERC to foster competition in the wholesale energy markets through open access to transmission facilities.
In 1996,FERC issued a series of orders designed to foster competition through better access to transmission facilities. As a result, while a single company might own the transmission facilities, the commodity being carried (gas or electricity) would be available from a variety of suppliers, who would be competing with one another for customers.

On August 8, 2005, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct) was signed into law. EPAct was the first major energy law enacted in over a decade, and makes the most significant changes in Commission authority since the Federal Power Act and Natural Gas Act. By passing the EPAct, Congress signaled a strong vote of confidence in the Commission. EPAct had three general policy goals in the areas of concern to the Commission. First, it reaffirmed a commitment to competition in wholesale power markets as national policy, the third major federal law in the last 30 years to do so. Second, it strengthened the Commission's regulatory tools, recognizing that effective regulation is necessary to protect the consumer from exploitation and assure fair competition. Third, it provided for development of a stronger energy infrastructure.
North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) as the nation's Electric Reliability Organization (ERO), pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and Commission Order No. 672 PDF.
The Commission concluded that the existing Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) provided an opportunity to engage in undue discrimination and preference in transmission service, and acted to prevent that undue discrimination and preference. The rule prevents undue discrimination and preference by increasing the transparency of Open Access Transmission Tariff administration. The rule requires an open, transparent, and coordinated transmission planning process that will consider the needs of native load customers of transmission customers as well as transmission providers. With this rule in place, it will now be possible to pry open the black box that has frustrated transmission customers for so long.

FERC issued a policy statement PDF that allows the Commission to issue conditioned licenses for hydrokinetic energy projects under appropriate circumstances. This process is for hydrokinetic projects only. The Commission may issue a project license where it has completed processing an application while other authorizations under federal law remain outstanding. Licenses issued under these circumstances would preclude the developer from starting construction until the licensee has obtained all necessary authorizations required by federal law and filed those with the Commission (Docket No. PL08-1-000).
FERC issues Order No. 719 PDF which finalized regulations that will strengthen the operation and improve the competitiveness of organized wholesale electric markets through the use of demand response and by encouraging long-term power contracts, strengthening the role of market monitors and enhancing regional transmission organization (RTO) and independent system operator (ISO) responsiveness.

FERC announced that it is taking a fresh look at regulatory policies to integrate the rapidly increasing number of variable energy resources into the nation's power grid in the most efficient and non-discriminatory manner while maintaining power system reliability and FERC proposed to build on its Order No. 890 PDF open access transmission reforms by establishing a closer link between regional electric transmission planning and cost allocation to help ensure that needed transmission facilities actually are built.
FERC issues Order No. 1000 PDF which reforms the Commissionís electric transmission planning and cost allocation requirements for public utility transmission providers. The rule builds on the reforms of Order No. 890 and corrects remaining deficiencies with respect to transmission planning processes and cost allocation methods.