Bayles, Bonnifield and Johns Outline FERC Actions to Ease Regulatory Burdens on Energy Industry During COVID–19 Pandemic


Energy and regulatory attorneys Jessica Bayles, Richard Bonnifield and Jason Johns contributed an article to T&D World titled “FERC Eases Regulations During COVID–19 Crisis,” published April 13, 2020. The article discusses actions taken by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to lessen regulatory impacts on the energy industry during the COVID–19 pandemic.

Among the steps taken by FERC are:

  • ​Provided assurances to regulated entities that it will not second-guess the good faith actions of such entities in responding to the crisis.
  • Granted an extension until May 1, 2020, for a broad range of non-statutory filings and to June 1, 2020, for certain other documents.
  • Waived some requirements that conflict with social distancing guidelines, including those for in-person meetings and notarizing of documents.
  • Encouraged regulated entities to proactively inform it of crisis-related issues and requests.

The authors note: “FERC’s actions to date have primarily focused on easing regulatory burdens on the energy industry. While this provides some relief to regulated entities, negative impacts from the COVID–19 crisis are more likely to come from the financial or commercial sector, which FERC has limited ability to influence.”

They conclude: “On the utility side, FERC has urged states to designate utility workers as essential and has sent a joint letter with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners requesting that the Federal Reserve extend access to short-term debt financing for electric, natural gas, and water utilities.”

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