FERC To Hold Technical Conference on Effect of COVID-19 on Energy Industry

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Shearman & Sterling LLPThe Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has announced that it will convene a two-day electronic technical conference in July to consider the ongoing, serious impacts that the emergency conditions caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) are having on various segments of the U.S. energy industry.[1] The technical conference is intended to be a public forum for FERC and energy stakeholders to discuss energy issues facing the U.S. as it recovers from the emergency conditions created by, and the impacts of, COVID-19.

The technical conference will take place on July 8–9, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, each day, and will be led by the four FERC Commissioners. The public may attend the technical conference electronically.

On June 5, FERC issued an agenda for the technical conference, outlining four panel discussions to take place over the two days.

Panel 1 (System Operations and Planning Challenges) will examine the U.S. energy industry’s ongoing and potential future operational and planning challenges due to COVID-19. The purpose of this panel is to understand how electricity, natural gas, and oil companies are handling the resulting operating challenges during the pandemic, how they plan to address potential resurges of the pandemic, and how they plan to move forward.

Panel 2 (Electricity Demand and Transmission Planning) will consider the impacts of COVID-19 on transmission planning activities resulting from electricity demand changes and explore how the electricity sector has responded to changing load patterns in both day-to-day operations, as well as in longer-term resource adequacy and transmission planning activities.

Panel 3 (Natural Gas and Oil Demand) will examine the impacts of COVID-19 on natural gas and oil supply, demand, transportation, and infrastructure planning, including the number and types of proposed projects, pipeline construction and rate filings and the potential impact of the COVID-19 emergency on LNG exports from existing and planned terminals.

Panel 4 (Access to Capital—Credit, Liquidity, and Return on Equity) will explore how risk factors created by COVID-19 could affect the ability of electric utilities and natural gas and oil pipelines to access sufficient capital, and whether certain risks associated with the COVID-19 emergency may have impacts on return on equity issues.

FERC will issue another supplemental notice that includes a list of panelists for the technical conference.

Footnotes

[1] Impacts of COVID-19 on the Energy Industry, Notice of Technical Conference, Docket No. AD20-17-000 (May 20, 2020) and Impacts of COVID-19 on the Energy Industry, Supplemental Notice of Technical Conference, Docket No. AD20-17-000 (June 5, 2020).

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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