On August 27, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the “Commission”) issued a final rule revising its regulations to require all hard copy and hand delivered filings and submissions—except those sent via the United States Postal Service (USPS)—to be delivered to an off-site security screening facility, rather than its Washington, D.C., headquarters. The final rule, citing security concerns, seeks to better “protect the general public and Commission employees from potential security risks” by amending FERC’s regulations at 18 C.F.R. § 385.2001 to require that all non-USPS hard copy filings and submissions, including any hand deliveries, be sent to an off-site screening facility in Rockville, Maryland. Such submissions “can be provided to the off-site facility in-person (by the filing entity or its designee) during the hours of 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM.” That facility “will sort, screen, and prepare the filings and submissions for delivery to the Commission,” logging the time and date of deliveries “so that the documents may be stamped appropriately and recorded by the Commission as received on that date.” Filings directed to FERC’s regional offices should continue to be submitted in accordance with current procedures or as directed.

While the final rule does not affect the current process for submitting filings, correspondence and other documents through FERC’s eFiling portal, it may burden entities in cases where hard copy filings or hand deliveries are necessary. For example, certain types of maps, drawings, engineering data and economic models can exceed the eFiling portal’s size or formatting limitations and must be provided in hard copy. FERC practitioners and other entities seeking to send submissions using carriers other than USPS or to hand deliver submissions via a messenger service or in person, should therefore plan accordingly to avoid missing the 3:30 PM cutoff at the screening facility, which is approximately 12 miles from FERC’s downtown D.C. headquarters.

The final rule will become effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

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