PICS Organization Name
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Washington, District of Columbia
Hang Huynh '18, Reva Abrol '18, Tony Chen '20, Matthew Edelstein '18, Julia Ni '18, Sami Walter '17
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is an independent regulatory agency that oversees various aspects of the energy markets within the United States. FERC is composed of five Commissioners, one of whom is appointed Chairman, each of whom is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. The Commission is expressly bipartisan as no more than three commissioners can come from a single political party.
FERC regulates the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil. It also licenses natural gas pipelines and gas storage facilities, as well as hydropower projects. Among its electricity responsibilities, it oversees the authorities that run the electric markets and operations and the reliability of the bulk electric system. FERC issues approximately 1000 orders a year at the Commissioner level, including proposals for new federal regulations. Among the key issues at FERC at the present time are the planning and cost allocation of interstate electric transmission; the integration of new energy resources such as renewable generation, energy storage, and demand response; and the reliability and security of the electric grid.
FERC employs approximately 1500 people including lawyers, economists, engineers, accountants, ecologists and biologists. FERC runs a summer internship program that includes undergraduate and graduate programs in various departments of the Commission. FERC first participated in the PICS program in summer 2011. More information on the work of the Commission and the Office of Commissioner LaFleur is available at www.ferc.gov.
Please note that you may apply to each of the following positions with a single PICS organization selection, however you must write a separate cover letter for each position for which you would like to be considered. Include all cover letters for this organization in ONE pdf document.
Position: Office of Enforcement
(Energy/ Public Policy/ Data Analysis)
The Division of Energy Market Oversight (DEMO) within the Office of Enforcement serves the public by monitoring and analyzing the nation’s wholesale natural gas and electric power markets. Staff uses public and non-public data from a variety of sources to review market fundamentals and emerging trends and to analyze the structure, operation, and interaction of natural gas and electric markets.
DEMO consists of about 35 analysts, economists, and engineers assigned to four different branches. The Princeton intern will work with DEMO staff on a substantive and defined issue for his or her internship. DEMO will benefit from having a dedicated intern to analyze and report on the issue, allowing the Commission to gain insight on a timely and relevant topic.
The Princeton intern will gain hands-on experience researching, analyzing and reporting on a relevant topic to FERC. He or she will gain skills in advanced data analysis techniques, statistical programming in SAS or R, presenting to 20-40 professionals as well as knowledge in wholesale electric and/or natural gas markets.
The specific topic for the intern will be determined closer to the start date to ensure it is timely and relevant. This past summer, the Princeton intern used R and SAS to analyze large datasets for indications of liquidity in electric wholesale markets and electric indices. The intern will be teamed with a peer mentor to provide necessary guidance.
In general, the duties for the position are:
- Participate in teams applying appropriate techniques to analyze market fundamentals and compliance with Commission rules.
- Research information and data sources associated with electricity or natural gas markets to effectively monitor, analyze and report on conduct and performance.
- Use SAS or other statistical software to perform analysis on large datasets.
- Communicate effectively orally and in writing.
- Experience performing quantitative analysis on data sets.
- Experience with statistical software or tools such as SAS, R, or Excel; or a strong desire and ability to learn.
- Strong communication skills
Knowledge of energy markets, electricity and/or natural gas preferred.
Position: Office of Electric Reliability
(Energy/ Engineering and Design / Government / Legal Services / Public Policy)
The Office of Electric Reliability (OER) will help protect and improve the reliability and security of the nation's bulk power system through effective regulatory oversight as established by Congress and the President in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Oversees the development and review of mandatory reliability and security standards. Oversees compliance with the approved mandatory standards by the users, owners, and operators of the bulk power system.
Major areas of responsibilities:
- Monitor and participate in the standards development process to help improve the quality of reliability standards proposed to the Commission. Review filed standards to make recommendations as to whether the Commission should approve or remand it, or whether the Commission should direct the Electric Reliability Organization (ERO) to create a new standard or revise an existing standard.
- Monitor the compliance of the users, owners, and operators of the bulk power system with the reliability standards.
- Lead or join in periodic and unscheduled reviews and audits of the ERO, Regional Entities, and users, owners, and operators to determine the effectiveness of their reliability programs and their compliance with reliability standards.
- Lead or join in analysis and investigations concerning complaints, blackouts, near-misses, etc., on the bulk power system to determine if reliability standards were violated, changes to the reliability standards are warranted, or if the reliability standards are adequate for their intended purpose.
- Oversee the ERO's resource adequacy assessments to identify and investigate constraints on the bulk power system.
- Engage in the regional planning processes to determine if proposed and approved projects are sufficient to meet the reliability requirements.
- Coordinate with the applicable Federal agencies; other governments; state agencies and regulators including the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC); the Electric Reliability Organization and Regional Entities (RE); the ISO/RTOs; users, owners and operators of the bulk power system; stakeholders; customers; etc. to facilitate energy reliability and security.
- Monitor real-time events on the bulk power system, reporting the most significant to the Chairman, Commissioners, and senior staff through a 24/7 emergency reporting system.
- Work with other internal and external groups to evaluate elements that may impact the bulk power system (such as fuel constraints, generation and transmission siting and permitting, congestion, rate recovery for reliability expenditures, etc.) and cost recovery options for potential solutions.
- Identify localized constrained areas and probable regulatory/legislative concerns.
- Explore, develop, and implement procedures and/or reliability standards to secure the bulk power system, including cyber facilities, against outside attack.
As an intern in the Office of Electric Reliability, your duties will include the following:
- Participate in reviewing or providing advice on NERC Reliability Standards Investigations, audit of the users, owners, and/or operators of the bulk power system, and analyzing power system incidents to determine potential noncompliance with NERC Reliability Standards
- Assist OER teams in providing input to Commission orders that ensure the protection and enhancement of bulk power system reliability.
- Perform power system engineering analysis supporting Commission evaluation of electric system market and rate cases and related initiatives.
- Participate in research and analysis identifying the implications of market and technology trends on electric system reliability.
- Analyze data and present results assessing the performance of the electric transmission system.
- Utilize a personal computer to accomplish work, including basic office functions and engineering analysis.
- Perform other related duties as assigned
Qualifications: A general enthusiasm for working with large data sets, solving problems, and presenting analytical results is required. The ideal student applicant will have used statistical software, have a general familiarity with SQL and/or other programming languages, and/or have a good command of Microsoft Excel.
Applicants should be studying engineering and have an interest in technology and public policy. It is essential that s/he be an excellent writer and oral communicator. Ability to perform analysis using spreadsheets, statistical packages, and specialized software packages. S/he will work closely with others in the OER Program office and in other Commission Program offices, and must be able to work well as a team player. S/he should be a self-starter and multi-tasker who can solve complex problems independently. Integrity and utmost discretion are essential as s/he may be privy to nonpublic information. Finally, a good sense of humor is desired as we all work closely together with frequent time pressures.
Position: Ofifce of Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur '75
(Energy / Government / Legal Services / Public Policy)
The intern will work in the Office of Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur ’75. The Office includes three advisers (two legal and one technical) who function much like law clerks in a judge’s office. They are responsible for reviewing all proposed Commission orders and working with the Commissioner to develop Commission policy, as well as for writing any dissenting or concurring opinions, public comments, speeches, and testimony delivered by the Commissioner. The intern will work closely with the advisers, assisting with all these responsibilities with respect to cases and matters before the Commission next summer. Specific projects might include researching energy policy issues, reviewing draft orders, helping to prepare speeches, presentations, and social media postings along with other duties as assigned.
The intern will have a unique opportunity to be closely involved in current energy issues, meet and interact with energy policymakers, and observe the operations of an independent regulatory agency. S/he will attend Commission meetings and might attend other energy meetings or conferences, depending on the schedule and focus of the Commissioner next summer.
The selected intern must be highly intelligent. It is essential that s/he be an excellent writer and oral communicator, able to clearly and succinctly communicate complex material. S/he must be interested in energy policy and willing and able to tackle complicated issues. Because s/he will work closely with others in the Commissioner’s office and in other Commission offices, s/he must be able to work well as a team player. S/he should be a self-starter and multi-tasker who can solve problems independently. Integrity and utmost discretion are essential as s/he will be privy to nonpublic information. Finally, a good sense of humor is desired as we all work closely together in a small office with frequent time pressures.
Desired: Basic economics coursework is highly desirable. Coursework in politics, public affairs and/or engineering would also be helpful. Past exposure to energy policy issues would be helpful, but not required.
Expected Start Time
TBD (determined by department)
Expected End Time
TBD (determined by department)
Meets Certificate Requirement
U.S. Citizen is required. General background checks are performed.
Intern is responsible for housing arrangements. Princeton alumni network has been used by past interns to secure housing.
The most satisfying part of my work was knowing that my project was actually contributing to the ongoing work at FERC. My project was on a subject (index liquidity) that hadn't been studied previously, so I was able to set up for future in-depth investigations.
—Tony Chen '20
I LOVE my supervisors. I had a official group manager and a project manager and they were always available for questions and advice. I talked to them a lot about my post-graduation problems and asked a lot a lot of questions.
—Hang Huynh '18