FERC Chairman Wellinghoff to step down

FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff on May 28 submitted his letter of resignation to the White House, a commission spokesperson confirmed on May 29.

The resignation puts an end to speculation over whether Wellinghoff, who was appointed to the position by President Barack Obama in 2009, would serve a second term as chairman.

Wellinghoff has been with FERC since 2006, when former President George W. Bush appointed him as a commissioner.

His term as chairman was set to expire on June 30, but he will remain at the commission until a new chairman is nominated or when the current congressional session ends.

“He’s going to stay until his replacement has been nominated and confirmed by the [U.S.] Senate,” FERC spokesperson Craig Cano told TransmissionHub on May 29. “Under the commission rules, although the terms expire on the 30th of June each year, the commissioner can stay at the commission until the end of the then-current congressional session, so there’s a grace period during which he’ll continue to serve. He’ll remain chairman and participate in all votes.”

Under Wellinghoff’s leadership, FERC’s focus on enabling renewable energy intensified, as evidenced, in part, by FERC Order 1000, which aims to open competition to nonincumbent utilities to build new transmission. A number of proposed transmission projects purport to transport renewable energy to load centers.

FERC has also focused recently on the security of the grid, both physical and cyber security, NERC reliability standards, and coordinating the natural gas and electric markets. 

Requests for comment to the White House were not returned by press time. 

About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.