On June 17, 2010, FERC Staff released its final National Action Plan for Demand Response (“National Action Plan” or “Plan”).  The focus of the Plan is to encourage the use of demand response to meet national energy independence and security goals.

In the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (“EISA”), Congress directed FERC to develop the National Action Plan.  On March 11, 2010, FERC Staff released a draft plan and invited public comments (see March 19, 2010 edition of the WER).

The final National Action Plan calls for the formation of a coalition that will include state and local government, utilities, demand response providers, regional transmission organizations, consumers, and the federal government.  The coalition will implement the Plan to accomplish three objectives: (1) technical assistance to the states in order to implement demand response programs; (2) creation of a national communications program; and (3) development of tools and materials for use by customers, states and demand response providers.  The National Action Plan envisions funding to implement the Plan from both federal agencies and market participants. 

The Plan identifies several steps to accomplish the first objective, providing technical assistance to the states.  First, a federal agency (most likely FERC) will conduct a one-day conference to present the National Action Plan to federal, state and local leaders and stakeholders, with subsequent annual meetings to share information and review results.  Next, the coalition will conduct a series of informational and educational sessions for policymakers and regulators to coordinate efforts on demand response.  Third, the coalition will recruit demand response experts, sponsor technical papers, and establish a program for technical assistance for states to implement demand response programs. Finally, the Plan calls for coordinating existing state and federal grant money for demand response programs.

In order to meet the second objective and implement a national communications program, the National Action Plan provides for a national communications umbrella, local implementation, and direct outreach to states and policymakers.  The purpose of this objective is to provide customer education and support for demand response programs.

The third objective calls for the development of tools and materials that can be used by customers, states and demand response providers.  Such materials include a web-based clearinghouse of information and analyses on demand response programs.  Additionally, the coalition will give input and guidance to organizations that need assistance developing tools and methods for demand response.

FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff released a statement along with the National Action Plan extending appreciation to commenters who contributed to the National Action Plan.  He noted that the Plan is a “proposal by FERC staff” and “not a decision by the Federal Government to implement this particular approach.”

A copy of the National Action Plan is available at http://www.ferc.gov/legal/staff-reports/06-17-10-demand-response.pdf