The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has amended its regulations governing the safety of hydroelectric projects licensed under the Federal Power Act. According to the agency, these revisions aim to promote the safe operation, effective maintenance and efficient repair of licensed hydroelectric projects and project works to ensure the protection of life, health and property in surrounding communities.
Specifically, the regulations now incorporate two tiers of project safety inspections by independent consultants; codify existing guidance requiring certain licensees to develop an owner's dam safety program and a public safety plan; and update requirements related to public safety incident reporting.
FERC also is changing the process by which it reviews and evaluates the qualifications of independent consultants who conduct the inspections. The agency will focus its review on verifying the independent consultant team possesses the appropriate experience and technical expertise to evaluate all aspects of a particular project.
The rule is effective April 11, 2022.