On November 15, 2012, FERC ordered additional technical conferences and measures to address issues related to the coordination between the natural gas and electric markets.  FERC’s order was in response to of a staff report summarizing discussions during five recent gas-electric technical conferences.

In February 2012, Commissioners Phillip Moeller and Cheryl LaFleur requested comments focusing on the various aspects of the growing interdependence of the gas and electric industries.  FERC received numerous comments highlighting that gas-electric coordination issues vary drastically by region, and also requesting technical conferences.  FERC responded by convening five regional technical conferences during August 2012 to discuss the issues caused by the increasing interdependence of the two industries.  These conferences focused on: (1) scheduling and market structure/rules; (2) communications, coordination, and information sharing; and (3) reliability concerns.  Staff’s report summarized these conferences, ongoing initiatives, and topics common to various regions.  Chief among the common issues are information sharing, FERC rules and regulations, scheduling practices and pipeline capacity release, and operations within a Regional Transmission Organization (“RTO”) or Independent System Operator (“ISO”).

In its November 15 order, FERC directed staff to convene two follow-up technical conferences to address the common issues raised at the regional conferences.  One of the follow-up conferences will be designed to identify any areas where additional guidance on coordination is needed, or any areas where regulatory changes are needed to better facilitate communication between the industries.  The other follow-up conference will be designed to focus on scheduling practices, including whether a standard “energy day” for both industries is required, and whether a nationwide natural gas scheduling timeline is needed.  No dates have been set for these technical conferences.

Additionally, FERC directed RTOs and ISOs to appear before the Commission to provide a report on current techniques and improvements of gas-electric coordination throughout the four seasons.

Finally, FERC directed staff to report to the Commission once each quarter from 2013-2014 on industry practices that staff has monitored concerning gas-electric coordination efforts.

A copy of the FERC order is available here.  A copy of the staff report is available here.