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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

About FERC


1. What industries does FERC regulate and operate?

FERC regulates the natural gas, electricity, oil and hydropower industries. FERC does not own, finance, construct or operate any energy facilities.

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2. Does FERC approve the construction of interstate electric transmission lines?

Only under limited circumstances, usually the individual states can approve such construction.

FERC does approve interstate wholesale electric transmission sales and tariffs that may encourage companies to build transmission lines.

Under Section 1221 of the Energy Policy Act Leaving FERC of 2005, the Commission has been given limited authority to site interstate electric transmission facilities if certain conditions have been met.

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3. Does FERC determine my electric and natural gas bills?

No. The retail rates that you pay are usually determined by your State Public Utility Commission Leaving FERC. Many of the states have programs to assist you if you can't pay your bill. They may also fund the installation of more efficient energy devices.

However, what FERC does ultimately affects consumers' bills. For example, FERC regulates the sales of electricity at the wholesale level between companies in different states. FERC also regulates the rates charged to transport natural gas via pipelines.

You can control your energy costs by conserving energy and using it wisely. Start today by looking at some good energy saving tips Leaving FERC.

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4. Does FERC regulate natural gas prices?

FERC does not regulate the price of natural gas. It only regulates the price to transport natural gas. FERC stopped regulating natural gas prices at the well head during the 1980s.

Natural Gas Wellhead Decontrol Act of 1989 Leaving FERC
Order No. 490 Final Rule re abandonment of sales/purchases of natural gas Leaving FERC

Natural gas prices paid by consumers are subject to supply and demand, storage, transportation charges, and ultimately your State Public Utility Commission Leaving FERC.

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5. Who has jurisdiction over nuclear, fossil-fueled, solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and fuel cell electric generating projects?

The Nuclear Regulatory Commisson Leaving FERC regulates many nuclear electric power projects. The Tennessee Valley Authority Leaving FERC and Department of Energy Leaving FERC also have jurisdiction in certain localities

The individual States Leaving FERC have authority over siting all other types of electric generating projects.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Leaving FERC and the States have authority over relevant air quality emissions from power plants.

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6. Who has ultimate authority over FERC?

FERC answers to the U.S. Congress. Commissioners and senior staff are routinely called to testify before various committees.

FERC's decisions also can be appealed before the federal courts.

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7. What is FERC's current budget and how many employees does it have?

FERC's FY 2011 approved budget level was $298 million and 1,500 full time equivalents (FTEs).

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8. Where is the Commission located?

The FERC is located at 888 First Street, NE and 1100 First Street, NE Washington DC 20426. The office is close to Union Station. FERC also has five regional offices. These are in San Francisco, Portland Oregon, Chicago, Atlanta, and New York City. FERC also has three satellite offices in Hagerstown, MD, Carmel, IN and Folsom, CA.

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9. Does FERC approve electric energy and natural gas projects?

The only electric generating projects that require FERC approval are hydropower projects.

FERC also approves the construction and operation of interstate natural gas pipelines, storage facilities and liquefied natural gas terminals.

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10. Does FERC regulate the construction of high voltage transmission lines?

FERC does not have the authority to regulate transmission line construction. This authority rests with the individual States Leaving FERC or State Public Utility Commissions Leaving FERC.

However, FERC can provide financial incentives to energy companies to propose and build transmission lines. It does this by allowing the companies to charge market-based rates to use the transmission system.

Under Section 1221 of the Energy Policy Act Leaving FERC of 2005, the Commission has been given limited authority to site interstate electric transmission facilities if certain conditions have been met.

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11. If I have a complaint about my electricity bill or natural gas bill, who should I call?

Wind farms are not subject to FERC jurisdiction and filing requirements. For more information about what FERC regulates please see What FERC Does.

To find out more energy about wind farms you may want to visit the Department of Energy’s Web site at http://www.doe.gov Leaving FERC.

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12. What is FERC doing to reduce electricity and natural gas prices?

FERC is working with the states to monitor the natural gas and electricity markets to ensure that energy companies are not holding back supplies and manipulating the markets and prices. FERC has also taken action against energy companies that have violated federal energy law. See Market Oversight & Investigations and Settlements.

FERC is also trying to reduce prices by providing financial incentives to energy companies to build more natural gas and electric generation facilities to keep up with the increased demand. This is primarily done by allowing energy companies to sell energy at "market based rates."

FERC is promoting conservation and Demand Response. The latter would offer financial incentives to industry and individuals to not consume energy at certain times. This reduces the demand for electricity and reduces prices.

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13. What is the Sunshine Notice?

The Sunshine Notice includes all information regarding an upcoming Commission Meeting. It is released by the Secretary of the Commission at least seven days prior to an Open Meeting.

The Notice is available both on the ferc.gov homepage and in the Commission Meetings Calendar. Navigate to the month you're looking for, then click "View" next to the Commission Meeting event you wish to view. When the Sunshine Notice is available, it will be posted toward the bottom of the page in the Related Files area along with other files related to that meeting.

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14. Where can I find a history of FERC?

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission was chartered as a result of the Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977, signed by President Carter on August 4, 1977 and established within the Department of Energy.

A complete history of the FERC can be found at The Students' Corner: History of FERC.

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15. Who should I call if I have a complaint or problem with a company or organization regulated by FERC?

You should call the Enforcement Hotline toll-free at 1-888-889-8030 or 202-502-8390. You can also email the Enforcement Hotline at hotline@ferc.gov Retail problems involving gas or electric service or billing are not within the Commission's jurisdiction. Such problems should be directed to your state commissions.

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16. Is there a list of FERC employees organized by the Office in which they're working?

There is no public list available from our Web site. However, you can check our phone book PDF for a full listing of FERC staff.

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CONTACT
Office of External Affairs
Telephone: 202-502-8004
Toll-free: 1-866-208-3372
Email: customer@ferc.gov
 
FAQS
Demand Response Documents & Filing FERC Forms Hydrokinetics



Updated: May 30, 2012