On December 7, 2012, FERC announced the details for its upcoming technical conference on information sharing and communications issues between natural gas and electricity industry entities.  The technical conference follows FERC’s November 15, 2012 order directing further conferences and reports to address common issues raised in regional conferences held on gas-electric coordination in August 2012 (see November 16, 2012 edition of the WER). 

The technical conference will take place on February 13, 2013 from 9:00am to 4:00pm at FERC headquarters.  In advance of the conference, interested parties are asked to file comments on the following questions in Docket No. AD12-12-000 on or before January 7, 2013:

  1. During an emergency, what kind of verbal communications and data exchanges do and should take place between the natural gas and electric industries? What are the industries’ current “best practices” for these communications? How can today’s best practices be improved? What should the Commission do, if anything, to facilitate the application of best practices between the industries?
  2. Please provide specific examples of other communications practices between the natural gas and electric industries that could be enhanced, including any communications regarding maintenance and construction planning, day-to-day operations, and other non-emergency situations. In providing examples, please explain whether there are regulatory or other barriers that would prevent good communications such as specific Commission regulations, tariffs or contractual provisions, legal precedents, or inadequate communications infrastructure.
  3. Should natural gas pipeline and electric utility system operators be allowed to exchange information that is not publicly posted? If so, what kinds of information should be permitted to be shared and under what circumstances? If information is shared, is there a need for enhanced protections against the improper use of the material communicated and what protections would be appropriate? Is the answer the same if a natural gas pipeline or its affiliate sells or buys wholesale electric power? If there are concerns that the increased communications might cause potential harm to industry participants, please explain those concerns. Please consider examples of information sharing that include both verbal and digital information.

FERC will issue a supplemental notice before the technical conference to give participants information about the agenda and organization of the conference.  Participants can register for the technical conference online here.  While the technical conference will not be transcribed, there will be a free webcast available via FERC’s website at www.ferc.gov

A copy of FERC’s notice regarding the technical conference is available here.