In the event of a potential government shutdown beginning at 12:00 a.m. (EST) on Oct. 1, FERC said the majority of its approximately 1,500 employees would be furloughed, while it would continue to inspect liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, monitor energy markets for manipulation or other violations of Commission rules and potential threats to energy infrastructure.

"Upon a hiatus in appropriations and after available prior year balances have been exhausted, FERC must begin the orderly shutdown of all activities not deemed 'excepted' as provided in ...this plan," it noted. A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission spokeswoman said 53 employees, including the five Commissioners, and 19 contractors, would report for work in the event of a shutdown.

"FERC will cease the acceptance of filings from the public and postpone all deadlines and due dates for all pending matters not related to 'excepted' activities...FERC will curtail contractual support services to levels required to support only excepted activities...FERC will...prepare employee notices of furlough and process personnel and pay records in connection with shutdown furlough actions."

The Commission can and will continue activities deemed 'excepted' to operate the agency during an appropriation hiatus. These activities would include:

  • Hydroelectric and LNG project inspections under construction, as well as licensed projects in operation;
  • Monitoring of electricity reliability and threats to jurisdictional infrastructure; and
  • Legal and enforcement matters.

With regard to matters pending before the federal courts, FERC will request stays in the related proceedings, citing its inability to participate due to a lapse in appropriations. If the courts deny the stay and explicitly or implicitly rule that FERC participation in these matters is authorized under the protection of life and property exceptions or some other applicable provision of law, FERC staff will be required to meet obligations established by these courts.

Commission infrastructure (information technology, building security and maintenance, and funds for certification and contract monitoring activity) would also continue in the event of a government shutdown, FERC said.