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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Legal Resources Alternative Dispute Resolution

Alternative Dispute Resolution
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When parties are involved in a conflict, they may initially attempt to resolve the matter themselves. If they are unable to do so, the traditional dispute resolution process is to engage in litigation. Thus, they turn the problem over to a judge to decide who is right, who is wrong (i.e., who has the better position). However, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) offers a variety of methods to resolve the matter though settlement instead of litigation. It is a voluntary process where parties, with the aid of a third party neutral, focus on achieving a mutually satisfactory solution rather than on determinating who has the stronger position. ADR usually involves a third party neutral who helps the parties design a process that they believe will aid them in finding mutually acceptable solutions to their disputes.

At FERC, the following groups assist parties with ADR:

  1. Landowner Helpline
    The Commissionís Landowner Helpline assists landowners with issues relating to the construction or operation of FERC jurisdictional facilities. Issues addressed include, for example: responding to requests for information, responding to requests for assistance to facilitate resolution of disputes relating to restoration (such as land after construction), or responding to other complaints. The Landowner Helpline also facilitates resolving landowner issues involving environmental, recreational, and other matters relating to a FERC jurisdictional hydroelectric project being addressed.

  2. Dispute Resolution Service
    The Dispute Resolution Service (DRS) is a small service-oriented team that promotes timely and high quality resolutions of disputes through consensual decision-making.

    The DRS has two major functions:

    • To provide services such as mediation and facilitation in disputes involving entities subject to the Commission's jurisdiction. All communications with DRS representatives are privileged and confidential, unless otherwise agreed. DRS staff is not involved in the Commission's decisional processes, and does not advocate positions or conduct investigations.

    • To promote the use of ADR both within and outside of the Commission through activities such as consultation, workshops, collaboration, training, and coaching.

    • To learn more about ADR or begin an ADR process, please contact a Dispute Resolution Specialist listed under "Contact Information" module on the right side of the page.

    Learn more about Dispute Resolution

  3. Enforcement Hotline
    The Enforcement Hotline invites market participants and the general public to call, email or write the Hotline to complain or report market activities or transactions that may be an abuse of market power, an abuse of an affiliate relationship, a tariff violation, or another possible violation by a FERC regulated entity.

    See a detailed description of the Enforcement Hotline