Since Commissioner Norman Bay’s departure from FERC on February 3, 2017 created the absence of the requisite three-Commissioner quorum necessary for the Commission to vote (see January 31, 2017 edition of the WER), FERC Staff has continued to act on certain pending matters under the authority delegated to it by the Commission on February 3, 2017 (see February 3, 2017 Troutman Sanders Alert).
Pursuant to the Commission’s February 3, 2017 Delegation Order (“Delegation Order”), FERC Staff has the authority: (1) to accept and suspend filings made pursuant to section 4 of the Natural Gas Act, section 205 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”), and section 6(3) of the Interstate Commerce Act, and to make them effective, subject to refund and further order of the Commission; and (2) to accept and suspend such filings and to make them effective, subject to refund, and to set them for hearing and settlement judge procedures. With respect to initial rates or rate decreases filed pursuant to section 205 of the FPA, the Delegation Order also delegated to the Director of Energy Market Regulation authority to institute an FPA section 206 proceeding to protect the interests of customers. The Delegation Order also granted FERC Staff the authority to extend the time for action on matters where such extensions are statutorily permissible; to take appropriate action on filings seeking waivers of the terms and conditions of tariffs, rate schedules, and service agreements; and to accept uncontested settlements. These new delegations supplement Staff’s traditional standing delegations.
Pursuant to its delegated authority, as enhanced by the Delegation Order, FERC Staff issued 218 delegated orders from February 4 through February 17, 2017. Of this total, 162 were delegated letter orders; four were orders authorizing the lease, acquisition, or disposition of jurisdictional facilities pursuant to section 203 of the FPA; eight were tolling orders; one was an order on the Commission’s information collection activities; and forty-three were orders issued in various hydroelectric proceedings.
The Delegation Order is effective until the Commission again has a quorum and takes action to lift the delegation, but in no event is the delegation to extend beyond 14 days following the date a quorum is reestablished.