The Regulatory Mix, TMI’s daily blog of regulatory activities, is a snapshot of PUC, FCC, legislative, and occasionally court, issues that our regulatory monitoring team uncovers each day. Depending on their significance, some items may be the subject of a TMI Regulatory Bulletin.
The FCC’s Consumer Advisory Committee issued a recommendation regarding the IP-Transition Trials. This first of several recommendations seeks to enhance the openness and transparency of the IP transition trials. It urges the FCC to develop a series of metrics to serve as a checklist for evaluating successful execution of the trials before they begin and encourages the development of best-in-class benchmarks for future trials.
The Committee’s check list includes the following:
- Ensuring that quality IP-based services are, from a consumer’s perspective, reliable, functionally comparable, or superior to TDM-based telephone services and available to all;
- Making sure that technological solutions enhance consumer choice;
- Providing functionally comparable or superior services for public safety, including access to E-911 and for people with disabilities;
- Providing connectivity with telemedicine applications, alarm systems, modems, fax machines, captioned telephones, TTYs, and other similar third-party services and equipment;
- Ensuring the protection of consumer privacy; and
- Ensuring affordable solutions, options, and choices to meet a wide array of consumer telecommunications needs.
Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Senator Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced the Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense (GRID) Act. The bill would authorize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue grid security orders and rules to address physical, cyber, electromagnetic pulse, and other threats to and vulnerabilities of the bulk-power system and defense critical electric infrastructure. Under the Act, if a grid threat/security vulnerability is identified FERC could:
- issue emergency orders to protect the reliability of the bulk-power system and defense critical electric infrastructure;
- promulgate a rule or issue an order to protect against the vulnerability if it determines that the vulnerability has not been adequately addressed through a grid reliability standard developed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).
Additionally, not later than 180 days after enactment of the bill, FERC would have to promulgate a rule or issue an order in order to protect against the Aurora vulnerability. It would require NERC to develop, within one year after enactment of the bill, a reliability standard to ensure the availability of sufficient numbers of spare large transformers to promptly replace any large transformers that are destroyed or disabled as a result of a reasonably foreseeable physical or other attack or a geomagnetic storm. Other provisions address designation of critical facilities and the protection of information relating to grid security threats or vulnerability.
Separately, Senators Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) introduced the Access to Consumer Energy Information (E-Access) Act to empower consumers with information about their own energy use. The Senators said their bill would “spur innovation in energy efficiency by making information on electricity prices and consumption available for households and businesses.” The bill would incentivize states and utilities to adopt policies that ensure consumers have timely access to electricity usage information.