On March 11, 2010, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or the “Commission”) released its Draft National Action Plan on Demand Response (“National Action Plan”).  Written comments, which will aid FERC in finalizing the National Action Plan, are due Thursday April 8, 2010.

In 2007, Congress directed FERC in Section 529 of the Energy Independence Security Act (“EISA”) to develop the National Action Plan.  In creating the National Action Plan, FERC Staff worked with a variety of individuals, including state and local governing officials, utility commissioners and trade associations.  FERC also held a technical conference that was nationally webcast where written comments were accepted. 

The National Action Plan is supposed to meet three objectives:
 1)  Identify requirements for technical assistance to states to allow them to maximize the amount of demand resources that can be developed and deployed;
 2)  Design and identify requirements for implementation of a national communications program that includes broad-based customer education and support; and
 3)  Develop or identify analytical tools, information, model regulatory provisions, model contracts, and other support materials for use by customers, states, utilities and demand response providers.

The National Action Plan is divided into two sections: the first section recommends creating a coalition to help the federal government in implementing the National Action Plan.  The National Action Plan suggests that the coalition should be made up of Federal, state and local governments, utilities and load-serving entities, demand response providers, Regional Transmission Organizations, independent System Operators, Commercial and Industrial customers, consumer advocates, interest groups and other stakeholders.  The second section of the National Action Plan is a series of strategies and activities that will help fulfill the objections under EISA Section 529.  The strategies laid out in the second section include:

• Technical Assistance to the States – provide high quality information and research to the states so they can make decisions about demand response policy
• National Communications Program – include broad-based customer education and support; including three elements, a communications umbrella, local implementation and direct outreach to states, policymakers and national partners
• Tools and Materials for Use by Customers, States and Demand Response Providers – aid states and utilities who may or may not already be engaged in demand response programs  

A copy of the National Action Plan is available at www.ferc.gov under Docket No. AD09-10-000.