On February 14, 2011, the Commission submitted their Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2012 Budget Request for $304,600,000. The budget request represents a 2.8 percent increase over the 2010 actualized numbers, and that amount equals $8,303,000. The oil industry is the one industry to show a decrease in the Commission budget allotment, and it dropped by 0.6 percent or $7,656,000 for FY 2012. The other regulated industries, electric, hydro, and natural gas all had an increase in funding request. The funding for regulating the electric industry grew by 4.2 percent while hydro and natural gas both increased by 1.5 percent.
FERC maintains two goals, 1) Supporting just and reasonable rates, terms, and conditions (“goal 1”), and 2) Infrastructure (“goal 2”). The Commission also lists major objectives under each goal. The objectives under goal 1 is (1) Regulatory and Market Means and (2) Oversight and Enforcement. The respective funding increases for both objectives are 0.2 percent and 2.7 percent totaling $164,992,000. The three objectives under Infrastructure are (1) Infrastructure Development and Siting, (2) Safety, and (3) Reliability. The percent increase for those objectives are 2.0 percent, 2.2 percent, and 16.8 percent respectively. The total funding for goal 2 is $139,608,000.
Some of the other major changes to the FERC budget include:
1. a $15,483,000 net increase for salaries and benefits;
2. a $ 3,053,000 net increase for rent;
3. a $1,286, 900 net decrease for environmental and program contracts;
4. a $2,636,000 net decrease in information technology (“IT”); and
5. a $6,311,000 net decrease for administrative support, including travel and training.
Although a salary freeze is implemented for FY 2011 and 2012, the increase in salaries and benefits includes the forty-eight new full-time equivalents (“FTEs”). That will bring the Commission’s total FTEs to 1,500. The decrease in environmental programs is due to a decrease in hydro and natural gas environmental services contracts, and the informational IT adjustment is due to a one-time infrastructure major purchase in 2010. The cut in administrative support represents overall reductions in professional support services contracts, travel, training, and a one-time major purchase in 2010.
FERC recovers the cost of its operations through annual charges and filing fees under the Federal Power Act and the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986. Those revenues are then deposited into the United States Treasury, which results in no net appropriations.
A copy of the full budget request is available here.