The U.S. electric grid is a patchwork of generators and utilities interconnected by antiquated transmission lines and a loose regulatory framework. States maintain significant control over this framework and over the transmission sector in general. Over the years, Congress and federal regulators have grafted-in various laws and regulations to manage interstate transmission. The twentieth-century grid is ill-equipped to handle some of the twenty-first century challenges facing it today: rising consumer demand and a proliferating array of generators seeking access to the limited capacity left available. Without additional investment in transmission facilities, these problems will threaten the grid’s reliability. Experts and regulators agree that more transmission investment is crucial, however, sharp disagreement remains over who should pay for these upgrades, and how. This page explores the history of the grid, summarizes the current problems it faces, and walks the reader through the relevant statutes and regulations that have shaped the grid into what it is today.
FERC Order 1000 (forthcoming)