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As of January 31, 2023, there are 4840 open recommendations that still need to be addressed. 471 of these are priority recommendations, those that we believe warrant priority attention. Learn more about our priority designation on our Recommendations page.

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1 - 9 of 9 Recommendations, including 0 Priority Recommendations

Electricity Grid Resilience: Climate Change Is Expected to Have Far-reaching Effects and DOE and FERC Should Take Actions

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission The Chairman of FERC should direct staff to take steps to identify and assess climate related risks to the electricity grid, and plan a response, including identifying actions to address the risks and enhance the resilience of the grid to climate change. (Recommendation 2)
Open – Partially Addressed

FERC agreed with our recommendation and has taken several steps to identify and assess climate-related risks. For example, in June 2021, FERC held a technical conference on climate change that addressed how utilities might assess climate-risks, ways to increase resilience to climate change, improving transmission and generation outage management, and potential changes to mandatory reliability standards. In March 2022, FERC completed its review of stakeholder comments following the conference and issued two Notices of Proposed Rulemaking in June 2022. The first notice proposed directing

Gas Transmission Pipelines: Interstate Transportation of Natural Gas Is Generally Reliable, but FERC Should Better Identify and Assess Emerging Risks

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC should use available information, such as reports by transmission pipeline operators on service interruptions, to identify and assess risks to the reliability of natural gas transmission service. (Recommendation 1)
Open

In a letter to Chairman Joe Manchin, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources dated 3/22/2021, FERC noted that Commission staff have initiated efforts to catalogue two years of the service interruption reports from transmission pipeline operators into a database to understand how this information could potentially be used to identify reliability risks to interstate natural gas transmission service. These reports are provided by interstate natural gas transmission pipeline operators detailing the frequency and effects of service interruptions. The letter further noted that the

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC should develop and document an approach to respond, as appropriate, to risks it identifies to the reliability of natural gas transmission service. (Recommendation 2)
Open

In comments to GAO-20-658, FERC outlined several ongoing efforts to monitor and report on the structure and operation of natural gas markets and transportation, and stated that that FERC would establish a process to incorporate the serious interruption of service reports into the Commission's ongoing efforts in monitoring and addressing the reliability of the interstate natural gas pipeline grid. In addition, in a letter to Chairman Joe Manchin, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources dated 3/22/2021, FERC noted that in the Commission's opinion it appears that no federal agency has

Natural Gas Exports: Updated Guidance and Regulations Could Improve Facility Permitting Processes

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4 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC should review its current interagency agreements that pertain to its onshore LNG permitting process, and implement any needed updates. FERC's review should include input from cooperating agencies and CEQ. (Recommendation 1)
Open

In February 2022, FERC officials stated that FERC has met with some of the agencies with which it has agreements and agreed upon tentative updates that are currently under review. Officials stated that FERC plans to coordinate the eventual updates with the Council on Environmental Quality and complete the updates by the end of calendar year 2022. We will continue to track the status of this recommendation.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Once FERC has completed the review and implemented any necessary updates to interagency agreements, FERC should establish a process to regularly conduct such reviews and, as necessary, update the agreements. (Recommendation 2)
Open

In February 2022, FERC officials stated that FERC's Office of Energy Projects--the office responsible for conducting the environmental review of proposed infrastructure projects, including LNG export facilities--is developing a process to conduct regular reviews of interagency agreements that fall under its jurisdiction. FERC plans to formalize this process by summer 2022. We will continue to track the status of this recommendation.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC should review its LNG regulations and replace the reference to the outdated 1984 earthquake standard. (Recommendation 3)
Open

In February 2022, FERC officials stated that FERC has drafted a notice of proposed rulemaking that would replace the reference to the 1984 earthquake standard--the only standard related to LNG export facilities in the FERC regulations we reviewed--with updated guidance developed by FERC. The notice of proposed rulemaking is currently under Commission review. We will continue to track the status of this recommendation.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC should establish a process to conduct a standards-specific review of regulations that incorporate standards every 3 to 5 years and to update the regulations, if necessary. (Recommendation 4)
Open

In February 2022, FERC officials stated that FERC is still planning to include the agency's LNG regulations in its existing biennial regulatory review process in which it reviews significant or otherwise important regulations to determine if they need to be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed.

Critical Infrastructure Protection: Actions Needed to Address Significant Cybersecurity Risks Facing the Electric Grid

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC should consider our assessment and determine whether to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to adopt any changes to its cybersecurity standards to ensure those standards more fully address the NIST Cybersecurity framework and address current and projected risks. (Recommendation 2)
Open

According to FERC officials, the Commission is conducting a technical analysis to develop a plan with appropriate next steps to address GAO's recommendation. As part of this effort, FERC issued two documents in June 2020. First, FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry seeking comments on (1) whether NERC's cybersecurity standards adequately address certain NIST Cybersecurity Framework categories, and (2) whether modifications to the cybersecurity standards would be appropriate to address the potential risk of a coordinated cyberattack on geographically distributed targets. As of May 2022, Commission

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC should (1) evaluate the potential risk of a coordinated cyberattack on geographically distributed targets and, (2) based on the results of that evaluation, determine whether to direct NERC to make any changes to the threshold for mandatory compliance with requirements in the full set of cybersecurity standards. (Recommendation 3)
Open

According to FERC officials, the Commission is conducting a technical analysis to develop a plan with appropriate next steps to address GAO's recommendation. As part of this effort, FERC issued two documents in June 2020. First, FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry seeking comments on (1) whether NERC's cybersecurity standards adequately address certain NIST Cybersecurity Framework categories, and (2) whether modifications to the cybersecurity standards would be appropriate to address the potential risk of a coordinated cyberattack on geographically distributed targets. As of May 2022, Commission

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For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation. For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.