FERC to review coal delivery issues for utilities on Dec. 18

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) said Dec. 11 that it will convene a panel discussion on coal delivery issues and their effects on electric reliability at its Dec. 18 meeting.

Officials in the Midwest have raised concerns about railroad delivery issues caused by factors like rail system congestion as affecting coal stockpiles and operation of the electric power sector in Minnesota and other areas. FERC has been monitoring this issue, and in recent months commission staff have been in communication with staff at the federal Surface Transportation Board (STB) as well as affected utilities on this subject.

Panelists at the discussion will include representatives of FERC staff, the STB, ALLETE subsidiary Minnesota Power, BNSF Railway (the subject of most of the rail complaints) and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (which oversees the grid where most of the problems are occurring).

Other utilities that have complained recently to the STB about poor coal delivery service via rail include Dairyland Power Cooperative, Xcel Energy for several of its utility subsidiaries as far south as Texas, and several utilities represented collectively by the Western Coal Traffic League.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.