by Kelly A. Daly

Yesterday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) submitted its Fiscal Year 2023 Congressional Justification. This document, which is submitted annually, consolidates the Annual Performance Plan with the Performance Budget Request for the primary purpose of communicating the agency’s accomplishments in the prior fiscal year and establishing goals to pursue its mission tied to FERC’s request for this next year’s funding.

An important take away from this document is that it identifies FERC’s strategic priorities for the next year. As expected, modernizing the electricity market design and facilitating the development of the electricity infrastructure to allow for a changing resource mix is at the top of the priorities. Equally important is FERC’s emphasis on safeguarding the electric infrastructure from emerging threats to reliability and security. The report also acknowledges FERC’s continued desire to maintain a robust enforcement program as a tool to ensure just and reasonable rates and compliance with FERC’s regulatory obligations. With over 1,500 full-time employees, FERC has requested Congressional approval of a 2023 fiscal year budget of $508,400,000 to accomplish its mission. Just over $8 million of this amount is earmarked for modernizing the FERC headquarters in Washington, D.C.  FERC is also anticipating the hiring of 43 new full-time employees with the responsibility of integrating environmental analysis, justice, and equity considerations into the Commission’s decision-making processes consistent with Executive Order 13985, Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government, issued on January 20, 2021.  While each year the approved budget is appropriated from the U.S. Treasury’s general fund, the FERC is one of only a few agencies that recovers the full amount of its operations each year through the recovery of annual charges and filing fees assessed on the industries it regulates. As a result, the final fiscal year appropriation from the general fund is $0 in 2023.

The FERC is an independent agency that regulates the transmission and wholesale sale of electricity and natural gas in interstate commerce as well as the transportation of oil by pipeline in interstate commerce.