New FERC chair wants to make agency more transparent
- Kevin McIntyre, the new chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, was sworn in this month and just told Open Access, the commission's podcast, his goals include making the agency more transparent.
- Before coming to FERC, McIntyre was co-leader of the global energy practice at the law firm Jones Day. He practiced law before FERC for almost three decades, most of it at Jones Day, before moving to the commission.
- His arrival at the agency marks the first time it has had a full roster of commissioners since Oct. 2015, but he told Open Access than the agency's backlog of cases "has largely been resolved."
In a brief interview with Open Access, McIntyre acknowledged the agency has been focused on the U.S. Department of Energy's cost recovery plan for merchant plants with onsite fuel, but he said other important issues will not slip.
FERC is also dealing with pipeline cases, a storage rulemaking and an ongoing evaluation of the commission's policy on rates of return, McIntyre said.
"Everyone here knows we can't allow any of it to fall by the wayside as we work on the DOE proposal," he said.
McIntyre also said that the bulk of the agency case backlog, which built up during an extended period of time when FERC was short-handed, has now largely been addressed. When asked about future changes, the new commissioner said he wanted to bring more transparency to the agency's decision-making process.
"As a matter of good governance, I would like to see us move in the direction of making FERC more transparent," he said. "As a practitioner, I know first hand what it's like to wonder when on earth the commission is going to make a decision on a given matter. I think we owe it to stakeholders and the public itself to be as transparent as we can possibly be."
DOE released a subsidy plan this fall, proposing cost recovery for merchant plants that keep 90 days of fuel supply onsite. The agency believes the plan is necessary for reliability and resilience, but a wide swath of energy stakeholders and former regulators oppose the rule.
McIntyre requested 30 more days for the FERC to act on the DOE plan. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry begrudgingly approved that request, giving the agency until Jan. 10 to rule.
- Open Access Open Access: Meet Chairman Kevin McIntyre
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