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April 1, 2020

FERC's Response to COVID-19

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is still operating and plans to continue all statutory obligations. However, the FERC’s offices are closed to the public, and FERC employees are currently teleworking. You can find the most recent updates regarding the FERC’s COVID-19 response here or in its e-library by searching Docket Number AD20-11-000.

On March 19, the FERC issued a notice granting extensions until May 1 for: 

  • Filing forms required by the FERC, except for FERC Form No. 6 Annual Report of Oil Pipeline Companies
  • Non-statutory filings required by the FERC (e.g., compliance filings, responses to deficiency letters, rulemaking comments)
  • Filings required by entities’ tariffs or rate schedules

The notice also explains that the FERC’s regulations allow for extensions for other types of filings. Entities seeking extensions of other deadlines (e.g., deadlines for filing interventions or protests, filing answers) as well as further extensions for the required filings identified above may file motions seeking extensions in the proceedings as appropriate. 
In addition, entities may seek waiver of the FERC’s orders, regulations, tariffs, and rate schedules, as appropriate, to address needs resulting from steps they have taken in response to COVID-19. Those requests may include motions for waiver of the FERC regulations that govern the form of filings. The FERC noted that action on all such motions will be taken as expeditiously as possible.

On March 27, FERC chair Neil Chatterjee and FERC senior staff members convened a conference call with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, the National Association of State Energy Officials, and the National Governors Association. The call provided FERC state partners with an update on the FERC’s efforts, since COVID-19 has forced most of the country into telework status. Caroline Wozniak, a senior policy advisor in the Office of Energy Market Regulation, has been appointed as the point of contact for all industry inquiries related to COVID-19 and its impacts. Stakeholders can email PandemicLiaison@ferc.gov to receive prompt responses to their questions from FERC staff.  

Also, for the time being, all FERC administrative hearings are postponed until the Office of Administrative Litigation can reschedule them for a future date. Settlement conferences will be conducted by telephone, and oral arguments will be heard via WebEx. All previously scheduled Office of Enforcement audit site visits and investigative testimony are postponed as well. 

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Brenda Colella, Regulatory Practice Area co-chair and co-team leader of the Renewable Energy and Energy Markets Teams, at bcolella@barclaydamon.com; Ekin Senlet, partner, at esenlet@barclaydamon.com; or Angela Sicker, law clerk, at asicker@barclaydamon.com

We have a specific team of Barclay Damon attorneys who are actively working on assessing regulatory, legislative, and other governmental updates related to COVID-19 and who are prepared to assist clients. You can reach our COVID-19 Response Team at COVID-19ResponseTeam@barclaydamon.com.
 

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