U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced legislation on May 15 to create an Office of Public Participation and Consumer Advocacy at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The Public Engagement at FERC Act, S. 1477, will assist residential and small commercial energy consumers in participating in FERC proceedings, ensuring the public has a strong role in shaping the nation’s energy future. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Mark Warner (D-VA) are co-sponsors. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) will introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
Sen. Shaheen introduced a similar bill in the last Congress, which was referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, as was S. 1477, but there were no hearings. It remains to be seen whether this new version will have a more positive fate.