The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) says if the U.S. Senate can’t pass broad energy legislation, then Congress should write a stand-alone bill to set electric power grid reliability standards. Pat Wood, FERC chairman, says regardless of legislative actions, FERC will independently take steps to improve the U.S. grid by this summer. “In the coming weeks and months you’re going to see FERC go from zero to 60 on the issue of grid reliability,” he says.
A broad energy bill that addresses electricity, oil, natural gas, nuclear, and other forms of energy passed the House of Representatives last year, but is now stalled in the Senate. Senate Republicans said they will try again early this year to pass the bill, which failed by two votes in November.
FERC will likely propose regulations that require utilities to report when they violate voluntary industry rules. Wood says he believes that current law gives the group the authority to take action, but is waiting for input from three other commissioners.