In 1977, the Department of Energy Organization Act created the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), a successor agency to the Federal Power Commission (FPC). FERC is an independent regulatory agency within the Department of Energy (DOE) and is led by five commissioners who are appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. Commissioners serve five-year staggered terms and each has an equal vote on all matters. The commissioners are supported by a staff of analysts and advisors.
FERC regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines as well as licensing hydropower projects.
Specific responsibilities include:
- Regulating the transmission and wholesale sales of electricity in interstate commerce
- Reviewing mergers and acquisitions and corporate transactions by electricity companies involved in interstate commerce
- Regulating the transmission and sale of natural gas for resale in interstate commerce
- Regulating the transportation of oil by pipeline in interstate commerce
- Approving the siting and abandonment of interstate natural gas pipelines and storage facilities
- Overseeing environmental matters related to natural gas and hydroelectricity projects
- Reviewing the siting applications for electric transmission projects that impact interstate commerce
- Ensuring the safe operation and reliability of proposed and operating LNG terminals
- Licensing and inspecting private, municipal, and state hydroelectric projects
- Protecting the reliability of the high-voltage interstate electric transmission system through mandatory reliability and security standards
- Monitoring and investigating market behavior of participants in energy markets
- Enforcing FERC regulatory requirements through imposition of civil penalties and other means
- Administering accounting and financial reporting for regulated companies and monitoring their behavior