An exasperated Fifth Circuit granted mandamus relief to require FERC to explain significant delay in a nuclear-power rate …
dispute, In re Louisiana Public Service Comm’n, No. 22-60458 (Jan. 18, 2023).
As to jurisdiction, the Court observed: “This court has jurisdiction over the LPSC’s petition to safeguard our prospective jurisdiction to review final FERC orders under the Federal Power Act. When federal appellate courts have jurisdiction to review agency action, ‘the All Writs Act empowers those courts to issue a writ of mandamus compelling the agency to complete the action.’” (footnotes omitted).
As to the merits, the Court observed: “FERC is correct that ratemaking is challenging work, and we are fully aware of the difficulties attending the substitution of nuclear for other power sources, with its attendant difficulties of allocating huge installation costs among electrical suppliers now looking to a new power source. Yet Congress has duly charged FERC with this important duty, and FERC has yet to provide this court with a meaningful explanation for its inability to expeditiously conclude Section 206 proceedings. FERC must convince this court that it has acted ‘within a reasonable time . . . to conclude [the] matter presented to it.’ In failing to do so, FERC risks judicial intervention to protect the rights of the parties before it and the interests of consumers.” (footnotes omitted).
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