Monday, June 18, 2012


Dear FERC,

I'm relatively familiar with the FERC Open Access orders that got the ball rolling on deregulation. I was wondering if it is within FERC's power/jurisdiction to move forward with a Feed-in Tariff order for small/medium scale solar power installations. I'm thinking specifically of residential and commercial solar PV installations that feed excess power into the grid. I realize this isn't a wholesale power situation directly but was hoping there may be a way for FERC to assert authority here. The idea of the Order wouldn't be to force the US utilities to accept Feed from PV at X price - it would be to force the utilities to transparently lay out their tariff rules on back feeding. Basically an Open Access rule for Solar. The US has plenty of net-metering type programs but the coverage isn't universal. I know a fellow in Georgia that had to twist many arms to get his system connected. I'm sure FERC is busy but it's about time we started moving forward on improving the transparency of feed-in rules with an across the board procedure. I've studied the situation for many years and I believe there's a critical need for standards in this area. This seems to be something that may be right up FERC's alley. If you're already working on it please let me know. If this is not in FERC's jurisdiction then I apologize for the misplaced suggestion. Either way, as a concerned private citizen I'd appreciate some feedback. 


Thank you for your informed email and suggestion. This agency can always initiate a rulemaking in any proceeding within its jurisdiction. You are right, however, that feed-in-tariffs sit on the outer limits of our jurisdiction. This agency did review a feed-in-tariff related filing in California:, but a rulemaking is not something I have heard under consideration, most likely because of jurisdictional issues. Thank you again for your suggestion.


Thank you for the feedback. I can see how this is difficult for FERC to move on but at the same time FERC seems to be the right entity to take responsibility here and set a precedent. Solar power at scale is a new thing after all. Is this something that has to be done one PUC at a time?

Tough question to answer. Like I said it is on the line between State and Federal jurisdiction. I can't really say for sure what the Chairman or Commission would wish to do or not do and I wouldn't want to tie their hands. I can only say, I am not aware of any effort to address feed-in-tariffs on a nationwide scale. Now of course, Congress can pass a law on this issue and that can change the dynamic greatly

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