The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is still up and running despite the shutdown affecting most of the federal government. FERC announced last Friday that it will use its prior-year budget authority to continue operations starting today, January 22, and that it will “stay open until further notice.”
This means existing dockets will continue to be processed in the normal course of business; filings will be accepted, and orders will be issued. FERC gave no estimate, however, of how long the lights at the agency will stay on without additional funding. To the extent that what’s past is prologue, FERC’s operations were not impacted during the 2013 government shutdown, which lasted for 16 days.
In the unlikely event that FERC were to run out of money, it would, under its contingency plan, cut its workforce to less than five percent. It would then conduct only “excepted activities” – those deemed necessary to protect life and property – and would initiate an “orderly shutdown” of activities not considered excepted. Notably, this means that FERC would stop accepting filings from the public and would postpone deadlines in proceedings not related to excepted activities.