Several news agencies are reporting that Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Jon Wellinghoff is stepping down.
Wellinghoff will reportedly stay in his position until a successor is named and approved by the Senate. He has been the head of FERC since January 2009. He submitted his letter of resignation to President Barack Obama, news reports say.
Wellinghoff was instrumental in many regulatory approvals, including FERC Order 1000, which required utilities and grid operators to allocate costs for transmission projects.
Wellinghoff was one of the keynote speakers during POWER-GEN International 2012. Wellinghoff spoke about the increased need for demand response in the U.S., especially since electricity use has dropped from 5 percent a year in the 1970s to 1 percent a year recently. He said FERC is working on rules that will allow energy savings to be built, or bid, into the grid at wholesale prices.
“We have to embrace these trends,” Wellinghoff said. “If we don’t, they’re going to run over us.”
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., gave her support of Wellinghoff.
“I’m particularly pleased that the FERC is enforcing the prohibition on market manipulation that I pushed for after the West Coast electricity crisis and is going after energy market manipulators on Wall Street,” Cantwell said. “I hope the next FERC Chairman will continue Chairman Wellinghoff’s legacy of aggressively policing the natural gas and electricity markets with the great team he assembled.”
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