Following the shutdown of many federal government operations that require Congress-approved funding October 1, federal regulators and watchdogs over the U.S. power grid are operating at differing levels of ability to perform their jobs and have employees at the desks.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is continuing its duties of regulating interstate electric power despite the government shutdown, but this is not to say that every government agency overseeing power generation and delivery is unaffected by the shutdown.
FERC offices will remain opened and FERC staff will continue to do their jobs, according to the commission, which governs electricity rates and sales as well as licensing hydropower facilities and natural gas pipelines and terminals.
“Take notice that, effective as of October 1, 2013 and until such time as the commission issues a notice or otherwise takes action to the contrary, the commission will continue normal business operations and maintain normal business hours,” according to a statement released by FERC.
According to HydroWorld, FERC is postponing some public hearings as a result of the shutdown, including a hearing on implementation of the Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2013, which President Barack Obama recently signed into law.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said her agency would operate on a skeleton crew with limited abilities to respond to serious emergencies throughout the shutdown. EPA responsibilities such as rulemaking, public hearings, comment solicitations and code enforcement will either cease or be postponed.
A message on the Department of Energy website says the website’s content will continue to be hosted, but may not be updated until the shutdown ends. However DOE employees are expected to show up for work for the immediate future, according to reports.
Like McCarthy, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell also said in advance of the shutdown that her department will be operating with only a core staff of employees.
“When are appropriations are cut, we must scale our resources to the minimum possible level, and that is what we are doing,” Jewell said.
The DOI manages federal parks, all of which are currently closed to the public, as well as oil and natural gas management. The DOI also licenses renewable energy projects on public lands.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission released a statement saying it was “prepared for all contingencies.”