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

1920
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.


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


1934
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
1935
The Federal Power Act of 1935 expanded the FPC's mission. The FPC began to integrate local utilities into regional systems to increase efficiency.


1938
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.
1940
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.


1954
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.
1955
In 1955, the FPC institutes "Area-Rates," which set uniform rates for all distributors in a region.


1960
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.
1961
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.


1964
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.
1970
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
1971, concerned with dwindling reserves of natural gas, the FPC raised price ceilings in an effort to stimulate production.
1977
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.
1978
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.


1980
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.


1992
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.
1996
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.


2005
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.
2006
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.
2007
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).
2008
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.


2010
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.
2011
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.