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FERC denies requests to take more time to consider DOE proposed rule

Providing no explanation for the decision, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Oct. 11 rejected numerous requests that it give the industry and other stakeholders additional time to file comments on a proposal that would offer more cost support to struggling nuclear and coal-fired power plants.

The U.S. Department of Energy proposal would allow generating resources having a 90-day fuel supply and operating in states with organized markets to recover their costs plus a return on investment. In submitting the proposed rule Sept. 28, the DOE told FERC to provide limited time for comments and act on the proposal within 60 days. The DOE also said organized market operators should be given only 15 days after the effective date of the final rule to submit compliance filings.

FERC is an independent agency, and it therefore does not have to comply with any of the DOE's demands. Nevertheless, the commission set an Oct. 23 deadline for initial comments and a Nov. 7 deadline for reply comments.

Initially, 11 trade groups representing stakeholders from both the power and gas industries asked FERC to provide more time for comments and an eventual order, asserting that the deadlines were too short to allow for meaningful public input on the proposal. Those calls subsequently were repeated by industrial energy consumers, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and others.

The FERC notice denying the requests simply stated that "upon consideration," the motions for more time are denied and the agency is sticking by its original comment deadlines. (FERC docket RM18-1)