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U.S. energy regulator says will examine climate change’s threat to power reliability


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. federal energy regulators said on Monday they will examine threats that climate change and extreme weather events pose to the country’s electric reliability in the wake of last week’s deadly Texas freeze that left millions of people without power.

“The effects of climate change are already apparent,” Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Richard Glick said in a release.

“We must do everything we can within our statutory authority to ensure that the electric grid is capable of keeping the lights (on) in the face of extreme weather.”

FERC, which regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, oil and natural gas and issues some permits on fossil fuel facilities, could play a role in President Joe Biden’s push to curb climate change.

Earlier this month, Glick said FERC will create the panel’s first environmental justice position. The person will ensure that FERC decisions do not unfairly hurt historically marginalized communities with pollution, he said.

The commission also said its office of enforcement is examining wholesale natural gas and electricity market activity to see whether any market players engaged in market manipulation or other violations.

U.S. Senator Tina Smith wrote to regulators, including FERC, on Saturday calling for an investigation into any price gouging by natural gas producers and suppliers. Spot prices in some cases rose to nearly 100 times usual levels, and many people were without electricity and water.



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