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Megawatt Minute

March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Update as to FERC and State Utility Commission Schedules

By Weston Adams, III, Lawrence L. Ostema, Steven Shparber, Joseph W. Eason, Wendy Wilkie Parker, Franco Furmanski

FERC and southeastern state utility commissions are currently taking varied approaches as to how to modify agency hearing schedules to account for COVID-19 concerns. Note that this is a rapidly evolving issue, and the below summary is likely to change further over the course of this week.

FERC recently took several steps to protect the health and safety of its employees and the public:

  • The Commission voted to cancel its in person meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 19;
  • Commissioners will vote on all matters that were to have been considered at the March 19 Commission meeting but will not vote in person;
  • FERC staff were encouraged to telework starting Monday, March 16, until further notice; and
  • The FERC headquarters building in Washington, D.C., will be closed to all outside visitors, unless cleared for entry by the Office of Executive Director.

The South Carolina Public Service Commission has converted its next scheduled public hearing set for March 19 to a virtual public hearing. The Commission is likely to make additional changes to hearing schedules in the next week.

In Florida, a customer meeting was scheduled to be held on March 26 to discuss a water rate increase. That meeting was postponed. A Florida Public Service Commission Conference is scheduled for March 31, 2020, and, for now, it is going ahead as planned although the Commission is analyzing alternative ways to host this and subsequent meetings, including through teleconferencing.

The Georgia Public Service Commission is holding an Administrative Session on March 18 and is encouraging participation online. GPSC has had a meeting to discuss other potential schedule changes but is not making any other changes now, except for encouraging participation online instead of attending sessions in person.

The North Carolina Utilities Commission has not changed its hearing schedules.

On March 16, 2020, the Tennessee Public Utility Commission published a notice stating that, due to COVID-19, the Commission will not convene its monthly Conference previously scheduled for April 13. The Commission also postponed two rulemaking hearings previously scheduled for April 14. The eventual date of those hearings has not yet been determined.

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