In response to the increasingly competitive and rapidly changing energy marketplace arising out of deregulation, the Federal Energy Regulation Commission held a symposium early last year in order to explore ways in which it could make its complaint procedures more effective. In this article, the author examines how the government has reinvented its approach to energy issues and shows how ADR will play a more vital role in the deregulated energy marketplace.
The need for expeditious, fair, and effective procedures for the handling of complaints is of increasing concern to market participants and to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as competition in the energy markets grows more intense. To solicit views and recommendations of industry and customer representatives on how its complaint procedures could be made more responsive to the new regulatory environment, FERC held a symposium on March 30, 1998. In attendance were representatives of the oil, gas, and electric power industry, as well as the author, vice president of government programs for the American Arbitration Association (AAA). Chairman Hoecker, in his opening statement, said that one of the major objectives of the commission’s self-assessment initiative “FERC First” is “to explore ways to make regulation and regulatory practice more responsive to an ever-changing and competitive energy marketplace.”