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FERC, NARUC ask U.S. Federal Reserve to help utilities with short-term debt financing

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) are asking the Federal Reserve to extend access to short-term debt financing for electric, natural gas and water utilities.

A joint letter from FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee and NARUC President Brandon Presley supports a request by the Edison Electric Institute, American Gas Association and National Association of Water Companies to extend Commercial Paper Funding Facility (CPFF) purchasing to commercial paper programs that are rated at A2/P2/F2 Tier 2 by at least two of the major credit rating agencies. That covers most utilities.

“We strongly support actions to combat the health and economic crisis that is unfolding due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we believe that extending CPFF purchasing would be a constructive step toward ensuring a properly functioning, critically important short-term debt market during this challenging period,” Chatterjee and Presley said. “Tier 2 companies are active in sectors that represent essential infrastructure, and include electric, natural gas and water utilities that are providing important contributions to the country. Both their continued financial stability and their ability to continue to support the country’s essential infrastructure are supported by ready access to short-term debt.”

FERC is an independent federal agency that regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas and oil. FERC also reviews proposals to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and interstate natural gas pipelines, as well as licensing hydropower projects.

NARUC is a non-profit organization whose members include the governmental agencies that are engaged in the regulation of utilities and carriers in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. NARUC’s member agencies regulate telecommunications, energy, and water utilities.