(1)The Secretary, in consultation with the Commission, shall conduct a study with respect to—
(A)the level of reliability appropriate to adequately serve the needs of electric consumers, taking into account cost effectiveness and the need for energy conservation,
(B)the various methods which could be used in order to achieve such level of reliability and the cost effectiveness of such methods, and
(C)the various procedures that might be used in case of an emergency outage to minimize the public disruption and economic loss that might be caused by such an outage and the cost effectiveness of such procedures.
Such study shall be completed and submitted to the President and the Congress not later than 18 months after November 9, 1978. Before such submittal the Secretary shall provide an opportunity for public comment on the results of such study.
(2)The study under paragraph (1) shall include consideration of the following:
(A)the cost effectiveness of investments in each of the components involved in providing adequate and reliable electric service, including generation, transmission, and distribution facilities, and devices available to the electric consumer;
(B)the environmental and other effects of the investments considered under subparagraph (A);
(C)various types of electric utility systems in terms of generation, transmission, distribution and customer mix, the extent to which differences in reliability levels may be desirable, and the cost-effectiveness of the various methods which could be used to decrease the number and severity of any outages among the various types of systems;
(D)alternatives to adding new generation facilities to achieve such desired levels of reliability (including conservation);
(E)the cost-effectiveness of adding a number of small, decentralized conventional and nonconventional generating units rather than a small number of large generating units with a similar total megawatt capacity for achieving the desired level of reliability; and
(F)any standards for electric utility reliability used by, or suggested for use by, the electric utility industry in terms of cost-effectiveness in achieving the desired level of reliability, including equipment standards, standards for operating procedures and training of personnel, and standards relating the number and severity of outages to periods of time.
(b) Examination of reliability issues by reliability councils
The Secretary, in consultation with the Commission, may, from time to time, request the reliability councils established under section 202(a) of the Federal Power Act [16 U.S.C. 824a(a) of this title] or other appropriate persons (including Federal agencies) to examine and report to him concerning any electric utility reliability issue. The Secretary shall report to the Congress (in its annual report or in the report required under subsection (a) of this section if appropriate) the results of any examination under the preceding sentence.
(c) Department of Energy recommendations
The Secretary, in consultation with the Commission, and after opportunity for public comment, may recommend industry standards for reliability to the electric utility industry, including standards with respect to equipment, operating procedures and training of personnel, and standards relating to the level or levels of reliability appropriate to adequately and reliably serve the needs of electric consumers. The Secretary shall include in his annual report—
(1)any recommendations made under this subsection or any recommendations respecting electric utility reliability problems under any other provision of law, and
(2)a description of actions taken by electric utilities with respect to such recommendations.
Section was enacted as part of the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, and not as part of the Federal Power Act which generally comprises this chapter.
For definitions of terms used in this section, see section
2602 of this title.
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