Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Richard Glick today announced the Commission has issued a public report outlining its work to establish the Office of Public Participation (OPP), which includes interim staffing of OPP to assist members of the public who wish to learn more about, and participate in, FERC proceedings. The Commission intends to hire OPP’s Director and other key personnel later this year.
Today’s announcement marks FERC’s compliance with the congressional directive set forth in Section 319 of the Federal Power Act following months-long, outreach efforts during which the Commission hosted six listening sessions, a full-day virtual Commissioner-led workshop, and a public comment period.
FERC’s plans are outlined in the report issued today, detailing the legal background of, and public feedback on, OPP. OPP’s proposed functions include direct outreach and education, procedural assistance, program office coordination to improve existing FERC processes, and counsel to the Commission on intervenor funding. The report outlines the plans for a multi-year phase-in to stand up the new office:
- By the end of fiscal year 2021, the Commission aims to hire the OPP Director and a Deputy.
- During fiscal year 2022, OPP’s initial operations will expand to provide support to the public on education, outreach, and assistance. OPP will also advise on an intervenor funding rulemaking.
- OPP will reach full operating capacity in fiscal year 2024.
“I am pleased to announce that FERC has established an Office of Public Participation, a step that is long overdue,” Chairman Glick said. “I am looking forward to finding a Director to lead this office and continuing to engage with the public on these essential issues.”
The public outreach leading up to today’s announcement was led by Commissioner Allison Clements and members of FERC’s staff. To develop OPP in a manner that would best serve the public and meet Congress’s directives, the Commission received and considered recommendations from affected members of the public and others interested in the Commission’s decision-making processes.
“Our process for establishing FERC’s new Office of Public Participation was driven by the desire to hear directly from the audience that the new office will serve—the public,” Commissioner Clements said. “The form and function of OPP is based on a strong foundation of input, particularly from people and communities who traditionally have not had a voice in Commission processes yet stand to benefit from participation. I look forward to seeing how OPP evolves to carry out Congress’s directives.”
The Commission is currently seeking to hire a Director to lead OPP. The Director is the principal advisor to the Chairman and Commissioners charged with coordinating and providing assistance to the public with respect to authorities exercised by the Commission. The Director is also responsible for coordinating assistance available to those who are intervening or participating, or proposing to intervene or participate, in proceedings before the Commission. Interested candidates should apply through USA Jobs.
Office of Public Participation Public Report
Office of Public Participation Web page
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, is an independent agency that assists consumers in obtaining economically efficient, safe, reliable and secure energy services at a reasonable cost through appropriate regulatory and market means and collaborative efforts. FERC regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil and electricity. FERC also regulates natural gas and hydropower projects.