What’s the FERC, and How Is It Shaping Our Energy Future? (Part 1)

Former FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable explains the work of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and its often contentious role in shaping the future of U.S. electricity and natural gas systems.

Fundamental changes are taking place across the U.S. energy landscape.  The growth of shale natural gas has changed the mix of fuels used to generate the nation’s electricity, with natural gas surpassingcoal as the fuel of choice.  At the same time, growing concern over climate change has incentivized the development of clean energy technologies and further altered the nation’s energy mix.

Yet rapid change has brought conflict, particularly between the states and the federal government over their respective roles in defining the future of our energy system.  In the electricity sector, state efforts to support renewable and nuclear power threaten the integrity of electricity markets and federal authority to shape them.  In the gas industry, federal regulators have approved a web of new pipelines to transport shale natural gas around the country, only to see some projects stall over state environmental and climate concerns.

Former FERC commissioner Colette Honorable discusses the government agency that finds itself at the center of many of today’s most critical energy debates.  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also known as the FERC, is charged with regulating the interstate commerce of natural gas and electricity.  Its role extends from oversight of wholesale electricity markets to environmental review of natural gas pipelines. 

This episode covers FERC, its history and mandate. The May 15, 2019 episode will take a closer look at the key debates now embroiling the Commission.

Andy Stone: Welcome to the Energy Policy Now podcast from the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania, I’m Andy Stone. Fundamental changes are taking place across the U.S. energy landscape. The growth of shale natural gas has changed the mix of fuels used to generate the nation’s electricity, with natural gas surpassing coal as the fuel of choice. At the same time growing concern over climate changes incentivize the development of clean energy technologies, and further altered the nation’s energy mix. Yet rapid changes brought conflict, particularly between the states and the federal government over their respective roles in defining the future of our energy system.

In the electricity sector, state efforts to support renewable and nuclear power may threaten the integrity of electricity markets, and federal authority to shape them. In the gas industry, federal regulators have approved a web of new pipelines to transport shale natural gas around the country, only to see some projects stall over state environmental and climate concerns. Over the next two episodes of Energy Policy Now, we’ll take a look at the government agency that finds itself at the center of many of today’s most critical energy debates.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, also known as the FERC, is charged with regulating the interstate commerce of natural gas and electricity. Its role extends from oversight of wholesale electricity markets, to environmental review of natural gas pipelines. My guest is uniquely qualified to discuss the role of the FERC and the vortex of issues that surround it. Colette Honorable served as a first Commissioner from 2015 to 2017. She is now a partner in the Energy and Natural Resources group with the Reed Smith law firm in Washington, DC. Colette, welcome to the podcast.

Colette Honorable: Thank you for having me, Andy.

Stone: So, in this episode, we’ll take a look at the FERC, its history, and its mandate. Next time, we’ll take a closer look at some of the key debates that are now embroiling the commission. So, you serve on the FERC from 2015 to 2017. Can you give us a high-level overview of the FERC and its role as an energy regulator?

Honorable: Certainly. And thank you for having me on Energy Policy Now, because I think some years ago, FERC was a sleepy agency that was really wonkish and very technical. But I think over the years, consumers are really beginning to understand how very important for is in terms of the development of energy infrastructure, and in the setting of energy policy. That FERC is a federal independent agency based in Washington DC, charged with the oversight of the reliability of the electricity grid across the country. And so as you mentioned, focus charged with overseeing and regulating interstate electricity, which means wholesale electricity in terms of electricity markets, and certainly natural gas market, and making determinations about important projects, such as interstate transmission lines, and interstate pipelines that transport natural gas, as well as certain hydropower facilities.

Stone: Now, you mentioned that it regulates interstate commerce, can you be specific about what it does not regulate in terms of electricity and natural gas?

Honorable: Certainly. So, to make this a bit more complicated, it’s not as simple as it initially sounds. In this country, we really respect the sovereignty of the states. And so, each state, including the District of Columbia, and territories, have their own Public Service Commissions which regulate electricity activity within their borders. So, in Pennsylvania, you have a Pennsylvania State Commission, and I know your commissioners there, including your Chairman Gladys Brown quite well and they do a terrific job for the citizens of Pennsylvania. Every state has one and those Commissions are charged with making decisions regarding generation.

So if there’s a decision to be made about whether a certain project would be constructed, such as a gas facility, your State Public Service Commission or authority will make that decision. FERC also does not make decisions regarding intrastate transmission lines and that means transmission lines that start and conclude within the borders of a state and FERC also does not regulate or make decisions regarding intrastate natural gas pipelines, which also random points a point within a particular state.

Stone: Now, you mentioned this briefly at the start. But could you go into a little bit more detail on how FERC’s work impacts consumers as well as industry?

Honorable: Certainly, FERC has a very broad authority. And their employees are right now, almost 1,500. But these are men and women who are not only lawyers, they are engineers, economists, ecologists, geologists, biologists, accountants, who are charged with supporting the work of the agency, the decisions that flow from FERC, even though they are made right here in Washington, D.C., they impact consumers everywhere. Because for the reasons I’ve mentioned, the states have a certain role to play. And the federal government has a role to play all of those costs flow through to consumers. The important thing is that FERC really was created to stand in the gap on behalf of consumers, and to ensure that the utilities, many of which enjoy a monopoly status, operate at just in in reasonable rates, and that consumers receive reliable and affordable energy.

Stone: Now, the FERC is housed within the Department of Energy, but it’s independent from the agency. Why is that?

Honorable: So, for the history buffs, that may be listening, FERC was actually created in 1977, by the Department of Energy Organization Act. Before that time, it was the Federal Power Commission. Coincidentally, I just saw the very last Chair of the Federal Power Commission, a man by the name of Charles Curtis, we affectionately call him, Charlie or Tim and Curtis. 

Stone: And he was also the first chair of FERC. 

Honorable: Yes, FERC was designed as part of the Department of Energy. It is not house is there. And in fact, FERC inherited many, but not all of, the responsibilities of the Federal Power Commission, when it was created. And in fact, Congress created FERC to handle a number of very important issues that impact consumers all over the country, and also relate to very high cost matters.

The matters that FERC hears are not $100 disputes or $1,000 disputes. The decisions that FERC commissioners and administrative logic judges make impacts millions and billions in revenues or costs. But the key thing about the way in which FERC was developed, is that Congress intended for it to operate independent of not only DOE, but also the executive branch and the congressional branch. And that is to ensure a few things in particular, one is to make sure that first because of the very heavy and weighty authority that it has, that it would be free from undue political pressure. And that means that no one from the White House and no one from Congress should call anyone at FERC and say, I want you to rule in this matter in a particular way. The commissioners operate in a qualified judicial manner, meaning they make decisions and sit as arbiters in very contentious proceedings. But they are also empowered to make policy decisions. And so, it’s important that we ensure that they are free to do so.

Another important element that Congress included when it created FERC was to ensure that the party of the executive branch, in other words, the party of the President of the United States, could have no more than three appointments to this very important commission. So currently, the administration is a Republican administration. And that means that no more than three of the commissioners can be affiliated with the Republican Party. And it’s important to note here that although we all came to work through political means, our work there was very non-political.

Another important element is that the decisions made by FERC are not reviewed by Congress and not reviewed by the White House, but are reviewed by the court. And so stakeholders and parties that appear before FERC can rest assured that there will be due process, the processes there are very open, very transparent. But also must ensure that its decision making is supported not only by the law and by the record.

And the last thing that I will mention is that the commissioners and administrative law judges are duty bound as well as their staff not to engage in ex parte communications, which maintains the integrity of the institution, which means that no party can communicate with commissioners or judges or staff about contested matters that are pending before for.

Stone: So I just want to also clarify one additional issue the role of the commissioner. So, you mentioned that there are many people work within the firm. And then there are the five commissioners, you are a commissioner, again, from 2015 to 2017. The commissioners’ role is actually to make the decisions and the rulings related to the industries it oversees.

Honorable: Correct and to hear applications before them. And I should mention one other important point. While Congress does not have direct oversight, Congress certainly does oversee the work of the agency, which requires the commission and primarily the commissioners and namely the chairman of FERC, to be responsive to constituent concerns from Congress, concerns from members of Congress, and also to appear as requested before either the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, or the House Energy and Commerce Committee, or any other committee that would seek to have a member of first appeared before it. And we frequently did that.

Stone: And again, as you mentioned, it’s supposed to be free from political pressure. That’s why the separation is there that we spoke about. Now, you came to the FERC after being chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Commissioners are appointed by the President on recommendation of the Senate, what was it like to go through that process to become a commissioner?

Honorable: Well, thank you for asking. And I’m sure the listeners may be wondering where this southern drawl came from. So, I’m glad you mentioned that. It was quite interesting that because I served as a state Commissioner for seven and a half years, starting as a commissioner, I’m a lawyer by trade. And so, I had not worked in this arena, so to speak, directly. I’d certainly represented the commission and some appellate proceedings and litigation.

But I really came to love this work. I saw how important it was, how impactful it was, and also how exciting it was to work in the sector, in particular, through the shale gas revolution, if you will, as well as the incredible transformation we were seeing with regard to the development of renewable energy and energy storage in particular. And we were very focused in Arkansas on developing comprehensive energy efficiency programs.

So, through that work, I really became an energy geek and ultimately came to lead the National Association of regulatory utility commissioners. And through that time began to engage more with the Administration, it was in the Obama Administration, on a number of overarching climate related matters, such as the Clean Power Plan, the administration’s efforts to reduce methane emissions. And to focus on the development of infrastructure that would meet the growing needs. We saw on both sides on the development of shale gas as well as making room and developing the necessary infrastructure to move wind where it needed to go and to bring solar online. And through that process, became acquainted with a number of members of Congress, in particular on the Senate side with the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. And one day, I just happened to be sitting at my desk and received a call from the White House asking if I would be interested in in coming to work at FERC.

Stone: Not a bad call to take.

Honorable: No, it wasn’t, I’m glad I was at work that day. And so then from there, you go through a rigorous process and you sit for Senate confirmation.

Stone: You know, one of the issues I’d like to go into a little bit later in depth in our conversation is concerned that the work has become somewhat politicized. And in you mentioned a few minutes ago that you know, the idea is that it is not but did the confirmation process for you in 2014, feel politicized. Were there any hot button issues at that point? That one side of the aisle or another seem particularly interested in knowing your views on?

Honorable: Thank you for that question. And they certainly there were a number of hot button energy issues, as I think back on that time. Interestingly enough, it was a time of great personal challenge, because I just lost my husband. And I really didn’t know if I would go through with this. I love Arkansas. And it was very, it was a place of comfort for me and my family. But honestly, I felt a call to serve and felt that duty to continue serving in this way.

There were a number of pressing issues, and I really felt pulled upon on both sides. But I really prided myself on working well with others, I think I had been described really more of a moderate. And honestly, I think some of my views weren’t accepted and embraced in total by everyone. And that’s all right. But there were a number of energy issues which dominated the discussion and discourse at that time, I mentioned the Clean Power Plan. That was one, the gentleman that preceded me, in attempting to get to the agency had made some comments in a speech about natural gas that really were difficult to overcome. And I would say that, and he’s a really fun gentleman, and I’m glad he’s still working in the sector. But when you go to work, you really have to put aside your personal views, because your mandate is provided for you by Congress.

And so, I think most of all, I needed to be able to demonstrate that I understood the issues that I had the experience, that I would abide by the law and make decisions based upon the record. And there were a number of visits that I had with individual senators, I should mention, even before you get to that point of even being nominated by the president, then Barack Obama had to undergo a very rigorous background investigation, some dozen FBI agents conducted my background check, 

Stone: The pressure begins there, huh. 

Honorable: That’s right. And then it continued. So, once you actually got the nomination, then you had to actually come to D.C. on your own dime, which I did, and meet with a number of senators on both sides of the aisle. And refreshingly, and surprisingly, some of my best meetings were with senators on the Republican side, and I’m a Democrat. And honestly, some of my more challenging ones were on the Democratic side.

But the key for me was to be true to who I was, I would not pretend to be something else when I came to this town, hence my continued southern drawl, even though I’ve been here for years. But to be true to my core beliefs about how regulation of this sector should occur, and to understand the concerns of the members and their constituents, because of those are very real concerns. So the key is to never take it personal, or personally, and to make sure that you can demonstrate in that process that you can hear the concerns, but you cannot be easily bent in any direction, and that you will operate with honesty and integrity.

Stone: You know, as we said earlier, FERC regulates on many fronts that approves proposals for pipelines also important changes to electricity markets. But in addition to reviewing requests from industry, it also has a role in proactively guiding the industries it regulates. And this is a particularly important issue right now. Can you jump into that just a little bit?

Honorable: Sure. And to round out our discussion, because if there are some listeners who may not be as familiar with the laws that govern FERC, it does include the federal power act under which FERC sets rates and terms of service for electric transmission in interstate commerce. We talked a little bit about that, under the natural gas act, for discharge with setting the rates and services for natural gas pipeline transportation, for storage, and for LNG facilities, under the interstate commerce act, it’s a lighter regulation, I would say, but it also sets rates and services for oil pipeline transportation. And then for also as charged with making decisions regarding licenses for hydro power facilities under the federal power act.

So that is the quasi-judicial role for parties come before the commission either with an application a petition, or some ask of the commission yet, as you’ve mentioned, and these there are certainly times where focus is listed and I would say should at to develop policy, or revisit or improve policy that impacts how the work in the electorate, to the sector, in wholesale markets or in interstate commerce, will operate. And does that through formal rulemaking proceedings, which are also very transparent.

They are open notices are published in the Code of Federal regulation. And the public can look online and follow any of the proceedings and every filing daily. And that’s really important that the public be able to weigh in, that the public can watch and see what is going on. And that ultimately, the commission makes decisions about policy that are based upon the law and the record before it in other words, that the Commission is not result oriented. When we’re looking at these issues, that it over has oversight of and the direction that it may try to guide these industries, it’s important to know that many of the rules, the foundation, under which FERC operates now, were actually established about 20 years ago, at a time when the energy world was a very different place. We didn’t have the issues of climate change that are priority today, natural gas had not yet really emerged. Shale natural gas and not really emerged had not emerged in this country yet. Things were very different. And that’s caused some of the tensions that we’re seeing today. 

Stone: You mentioned history a little bit earlier. But I wanted to take a quick step back and ask a couple additional questions. First was instrumental particularly in establishment of modern-day competitive wholesale electricity markets, such as PJM Interconnection, which runs the grid here in the Pennsylvania and other states in the ISO New England and others. What did FERC do at that time? What was its role in establishing these markets in competitive markets?

Honorable: Certainly, in the 90s, were a fascinating time at FERC. And even though I served there for two and a half years, I continue to be a student of work and its history, because it really informs how we arrived at where we are today. And as the old saying goes, if we don’t know our history, we really don’t know where we’re headed. And so, the 90s at FERC were an amazing time and having served as a commissioner there, I am still astounded at the progress and the very broad and large efforts FERC undertook and did so quite well.

And those efforts have been sustaining today. Certainly, back then. FERC issued order 888 when Chairman Betsy Moler was leading the agency. And that particular order is interesting that that some of the Hallmark orders have numbers. And it’s also interesting that FERC is actually located at 888 First Street Northeast today. But order 888 was really important in the history of opening up of markets. Because if we had more time, I would talk with you a little bit more about the history of the regulation of energy in the U.S. going back many decades.

But in the interest of time, I will speak here about order 888. And the fact that that was really a hallmark and pivotal time in FERC regulation in ensuring open access and equal access to both transmission and processes, so that there was more of a recognition and a leveling of the playing field for all participants in the wholesale electricity sector. Then, certainly, for created these markets, which were really intended in the purest sense, to ensure that there was a place where both buyers and sellers of energy could meet, and to really undertake the rigorous and difficult task of standing up rules, although not perfect, and some of those have evolved over time as our resources have evolved.

But that was really important, because in particular order 2000 by FERC created regional transmission organizations, or independent system operators. So PJM is instrumental across the Northeast, and heading over toward the Mid-Atlantic, of course, in not only being a place where these markets, these wholesale markets are operating, and I want to talk with you about two in particular, but also a place where a very important work occurs each and every day, focused on the development of interstate transmission line projects, as well as the determination of how those costs will be out. Located among the member states and utilities, so that’s another way in which the work at first impacts consumers, ultimately, because we now recognize that planning transmission lines across borders, not only supports the integration of clean energy, and supports the integration of storage, but also it is the lowest cost way to serve consumers.

So think about it this way, every state that’s a member of PJM, could take it upon themselves to build all of their lines in a very uncoordinated fashion. And consumers would bear the brunt of that, because they’re bearing all of the costs of all of those projects. So the electric power lines, correct transmission lines that are electric. However, at PJM, everyone comes together with their needs, how many customers will be moving into their respective territories? What is the load growth that is needed? What is the capacity that is needed in the PJM area, and then the members plan together with input from regulators, which is really important, and consumer advocates to think about the best way to do that, that is the lowest cost way to do it.

So that’s been really important in order 2000 created that effort. I mentioned that I would speak a moment about the two markets that operate certainly in the northeast, we have both energy markets and capacity markets. In energy only markets, those markets pay generators for resources or generation that is provided day to day. However, capacity markets really play more of a long-term reliability role in ensuring that suppliers of energy are paid to show up at some point in the future. So, they’re paid to show up for future delivery. And all of these markets must meet the customer’s demands, as well as plan, a reserve margin, which is a just in case amount of energy that can be called upon if there are circumstances that occur that we don’t anticipate. And so the 90s were a pivotal time in the development of regional structures that focus on electricity, and wholesale market operations as well as transmission planning and cost allocation.

Stone: And again, as you mentioned, the FERC really focuses on making the market strong, it doesn’t choose particular types of resources or technologies, right, that lets the markets figure that out for themselves.

Honorable: Thank you, Andy. And that is a critical point for FERC has a duty not to pick winners and losers and market. Burke also has a role to play to monitor market. FERC has an office of enforcement, and that’s their main task to monitor electricity and gas markets. But FERC in its regulatory role, should not pick winners and losers, but should ensure that the market is operating as intended.

And that all resources have an opportunity to play in the market. That also means the price will determine who will be called upon. And that means in that sense, some will be called upon and some won’t. But that is by operation of the market, rather than by any preference that FERC would express. And that is extremely important to protect the integrity of market and to make sure that they are operating as designed. And that way, reliability is insured, and consumers ultimately received the lowest cost resources.

Well, this very premise was tested was a year and a half ago or so when the Department of Energy issued what was called a notice of proposed rulemaking, by which it was asking the firm to offer certain types of support to coal and nuclear resources specifically, that may be favored by the White House and the FERC demonstrated its independence. In that particular case. This was a shining moment at FERC and I’m so glad we are talking about this NOPR, it’s we use a lot of acronyms in this sector.

So, the notice of proposed rulemaking we call it a NOPR. It was unusual, not unlawful. So, the Department of Energy certainly had the authority to propose this NOPR but then it was up to FERC to determine whether or not to accept it. And the chairman at that time, I was brand new to FERC, not new to the sector. And his name was Kevin McIntyre. Unfortunately, Kevin McIntyre passed away in January of 2019. And so, I will speak about this in his honor. But what Chairman McIntyre did at that time was to really confirm the integrity and the independence of the institution at a time of uncertainty, because there had been some transition at the commission. But also because it was really the first test of whether this newly constituted FERC would continue to be independent.

And when, when Chairman McIntyre came on, he immediately requested a 30-day extension, even though there was a lot of pressure to move this quickly. And subsequently, FERC unanimously decided not to take up the deal email for which was quite courageous, but also reassuring for the stakeholders in the sector, and at the same time, work up its own independent proceeding to evaluate what resilience was, and ensuring that for would continue to work toward supporting it and insuring it at a time where we all recognize very radical changes in the wholesale energy mix, that do in for was created because of concerns that there were a number of coal plants and nuclear plants that were going offline or ending their life long before they’re useful in economic lives concluded.

So traditionally, we would be really concerned about that. What we are seeing now is our way to manage carefully and delicately how newer resources are impacting markets, in particular, how shale gas, over the last 10 years and now 13 years, is impacting the operation of wholesale markets, coupled with the integration of both wind and solar in wholesale markets along with energy storage, which sort is not playing as prominent a role here.

But it will, in years to come. So FERC really had to grapple with this issue. And honestly, the nuclear issue is much more challenging. Now, it suggests because of its clean energy attributes. But this is an issue that really highlight this tension between what is happening in states and what is happening at the federal level. Because there has always been a cooperative federalism among the federal government and the state. There’s always been tension at times between the two. But we always have to work well together to come to the table to tackle challenges in a way that meets the needs to the best extent possible of both state interests and federal interests. And this particular issue that you’ve highlighted, Andy really highlights our need to continue to focus on wholesale market operations and the role that FERC will play to ensure resilience at a time when there are changes in what some would call the traditional energy mix,

Stone: To really hitting on one of the key issues today, and that is the conflict between state and federal jurisdiction over what happens in the electricity markets. And in generally speaking, the states regulate the utilities in the states, they regulate the generators, but then the FDIC regulates kind of the wholesale market that encompasses all of these resources that’s really causing the conflict today.

Honorable: Indeed, and then to add another layer of complexity. And let me say, there could be one utility that is regulated by both the Pennsylvania PUC as well as FERC, because if they are charging consumers, both intrastate rates, and interstate rates, they have to ask those Commissions for a tariff, and that is their ability to pass those costs along to consumers. And that is the way that either your state commission or first stands in the gap for consumers.

And so that’s the very important role that the Commissions play, but thing that becomes even more challenging is that states are now so much more active in it. Developing their own respective energy policies. And as you know, in the northeast in particular, and Mid-Atlantic, the states are very active. And in fact, Pennsylvania is very different from Vermont, Vermont is very different from Ohio, etc.

And so, we have come to know and appreciate that and embrace the diversity of the state. However, it’s not so simple when the wholesale market operator. In other words, PJM is called upon to attempt to integrate the state energy policies from Pennsylvania, Ohio, etc. So, it becomes really challenging, and that is where the difficulty lies. And in my last few months at FERC, we took up a very rigorous and detailed effort to learn more about how these tensions arise at the intersection of the development of state policy and the operation of wholesale electricity market, and how to find the best pathway forward to accommodate those state energy policies while ensuring that FERC, which has the ultimate authority to oversee these wholesale markets, can do so without one state’s goals and policies impacting in an undue way, the other state,

Stone: We will talk about this more next time. But one of the specific issues, the very specific issues is that when states offer subsidies to certain resources, those resources can offer their capacity at a lower cost in these capacity markets, such as the ones that run by PJM, or ISO New England, whatever you have. And there’s concern that that distorts that otherwise freely operating competitive market and brings down the cost that everybody can get for the generation they offer into that. And I think one of the questions I want to ask on the FERC right now, there are no commissioners, with state policy experience, such as you had from Arkansas, is that an issue as this whole discussion around state versus federal jurisdiction really comes to the forefront?

Honorable: Certainly, and I hope that your listeners will tune in the next time, we will really dig in on the issue of how the state policies are developing and how they are having an impact on market. Certainly, the DOE’s concerns about race resources being displaced, it’s not a trivial one. So, we’ll talk about that the next time. But there are normally five commissioners at FERC. Right now, there are only four due to a vacancy. And these commissioners are appointed for five years, staggered times. And we’ve talked about that process. You’re nominated by the president, you’re confirmed by the Senate. And these commissioners serve five years.

So, our current chairman is Neil Chatterjee. He has been chairman and then he became a commissioner and now he’s chairman again. And he’s a Republican Commissioner. Cheryl LaFleur, who’s a Democrat. And Commissioner Rich Glick, who is a Democrat. And by the way, Neal Chatterjee’s term will expire in 2021. Commissioner LaFleur’s time will expire in June, although she is allowed to carry over. And I wish she could stay on because she’s been a terrific chairman and commissioner. Commissioner Rich Glick’s term will continue until 2022. And the newest Commissioner, although not new to the sector, is Commissioner Bernie Mac to me, he’s a Republican, and his term expires June of 2020.

And so, we do have our time now, where we don’t have a state commissioner on which is very unfortunate. And at the time that I served, I joined former North Dakota Chairman Tony Clark, of the other party, but we worked so well together. And we came with a really good understanding of the importance of the independence of the Commission, have an appreciation for the rigor and talent of the job, and more importantly, an understanding and proper focus on these tensions that we continue to speak about.

So, one we haven’t talked about is how infrastructure projects are created and how they get through the process and the roles that federal and state government has to way. And it’s important that we have a state regulator that brings this training this experience, this rigor and the appreciation for the delicate balance that has to occur while paying deference to the state, making sure that it is work that carries out its own duties, and that those are not infringed upon. But most of all truly embracing cooperative federalism in our work with the state. I would suggest to you that all of these commissioners will serve well, but they could be better served and consumers would be better served with a current or former state commissioner supporting this important work.

Stone: Colette, that thank you for talking

Honorable: Thank you, Andy. I appreciated it and I look forward to the next time.

Stone: Today’s guest has been Colette Honorable former commissioner with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Colette as she just mentioned, we’ll be back next episode to talk about current challenges facing the U.S. and our energy system. In the meantime, browse through the energy research and blogs available on the Kleinman Center for Energy policies website. Our web address is kleinmanenergy.upenn.edu. And get the latest news from the center by subscribing to our Twitter feed @kleinmanenergy. Thanks for listening to Energy Policy Now and have a great day.


Colette Honorable

Former FERC Commissioner
Colette Honorable served as a FERC commissioner from 2015 to 2017. She is now a partner in the Energy and Natural Resources Group with the Reed Smith law firm in Washington DC.

Andy Stone

Energy Policy Now Host and Producer
Andy Stone is producer and host of Energy Policy Now, the Kleinman Center’s podcast series. He previously worked in business planning with PJM Interconnection and was a senior energy reporter at Forbes Magazine.