Under the Federal Power Act (FPA), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is responsible for ensuring that rates, terms, and conditions set by public utilities related to interstate transmission and sales of electricity are just and reasonable. Section 205 of that act requires public utilities to notify FERC of any changes to such rates, terms and conditions. Under current law, FERC has 60 days to review the proposed changes and issue an order determining whether the changes can take effect; parties affected by such orders can seek a rehearing of FERC’s decision and a subsequent review by an appellate court. If, however, FERC fails to issue an order within 60 days, any proposed changes take effect automatically. In the absence of an official decision by FERC, affected parties cannot request a rehearing.
H.R. 2984 would amend section 205 of the FPA to specify that any failure by FERC to issue an order related to a proposed change in rates or other terms would be considered an order to allow such changes. Thus any affected parties could seek a rehearing and appellate review of the changes.
By expanding the number of cases in which proposed rate changes potentially could result in rehearings, H.R. 2984 could increase FERC’s workload. However, based on information from FERC about the extremely limited number of cases that would be affected by the proposed change, CBO estimates that any increased administrative costs to the agency would be insignificant in any given year. Further, because FERC recovers 100 percent of its costs through user fees, any change in that agency’s costs (which are controlled through annual appropriation acts) would be offset by an equal change in fees that the commission charges, resulting in no net change in federal spending.
Because enacting H.R. 2984 would not affect direct spending or revenues, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply. CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 2984 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
H.R. 2984 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.