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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

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Public Safety Program

The Commission is very concerned about the potential for serious accidents at hydropower projects. This is because many hydropower projects offer recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing, water skiing, etc. to the general public.

If conditions conducive to accidents or actually dangerous situations occur at these projects, the Commission can require an applicant or licensee to install, operate and maintain safety devices to warn the public about fluctuations in river flows from the project, or to protect the public when using project lands and waters. At many projects, licensees take the initiative and install safety devices, or implement safety measures.

The Commission staff takes a project-by-project approach to public safety. Each project has unique conditions that require different measures, but the ultimate consideration is the level of danger to the public. In addition to educating and informing the public of the dangers associated with hydropower projects, licensees use various safety devices and measures, including signs, lights, warning sirens, buoys, boat barriers, fences, safety nets, escape ladders and guards.