FERC’s December 19, 2013 open meeting was its 1,000th, and the agency marked it with retrospectives from some of its former chairs.
FERC’s first meeting was held in 1977, when as a result of the Department of Energy Organization Act, FERC became the successor to the former Federal Power Commission. In addition to the FPC’s authority over interstate electricity transmission and wholesale sales, natural gas pipelines, and hydroelectric facilities, FERC was given jurisdiction over oil pipeline rates. During its 36-year history, FERC has overseen the dramatic transition of the natural gas and electricity industries from traditional cost-based regulation to market-based operations at the wholesale level.
Present to discuss the challenges faced, and the agency’s evolving role in those markets, were former chairs Betsy Moler, who was chair when FERC opened the transmission grid to competitive generators; James Hoecker, who oversaw setting standards for Regional Transmission Organizations; Curt Hebert, whose tenure included the Western electricity crisis; and Joseph Kelliher, who implemented the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gave FERC authority over mandatory standards for grid reliability and the power to assess significant civil penalties for market manipulation.
A link to a video of the Commission meeting, including the comments of the former agency chairs, is above.