FERC Monday said it is holding a technical conference in late September to discuss actions that industry has taken in response to an August 2011 report on the weather-driven power outages and natural gas curtailments in early 2011.

The conference was called to explore whether progress has been made on the recommendations in the report, which was jointly prepared by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corp., and whether "sufficient safeguards have been implemented to avert a repeat of the loss of generation due to severe cold weather issues that led to rolling blackouts affecting over four million customers and natural gas curtailments affecting an additional 50,000 customers," FERC said in the conference notice [AD11-9].

The extreme cold, which swept through the Southwest in early February 2011, underscored the interdependency of the natural gas and electricity markets, with gas pipeline curtailments and production well freeze-offs affecting the availability of generation, and rolling blackouts limiting pipeline compression capability (see Daily GPI, Feb. 7, 2011). The weather-driven outages eventually curtailed gas deliveries to thousands of customers in New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California supplied through El Paso Natural Gas and Transwestern Pipeline.

The technical conference, which would be led by Commission staff, is to be held Sept. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the ERCOT Metro Center in Austin, TX, the agency said.

People interested in attending the conference are encouraged to register by close of business Sept. 18. The agenda for the conference is to be issued at a later date, FERC said.

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