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people can get on with their businesses. It's hard to say what the average time frame for waiting to hear from FERC is, because the applications received in the 1995-96 time frame [prior to the 1996 Policy Statement] in some ways got held up because the merger policy was in a state of flux. There were some mergers that probably took almost two years to go through the process. Even understanding and knowing first-hand where the commission sat at that time and all the difficulties we had, people were being affected by this.
In the Merger Policy Statement the commission committed that if someone should file a complete application and there are not significant protests of that application, the commission would try to act within 60 to 90 days of the closing of the intervention and comment period. If that's a realistic deadline I really don't know, but I think the commission ought to commit to trying to get through these things in a realistic time frame.
Editor's Note: On April 16 the FERC issued a new notice of proposed rulemaking on mergers, in part to speed up approval. See Docket No. rm98-4-000, 83 ¶ FERC 61,027.
Lori M. Rodgers is contributing editor to Public Utilities Fortnightly.
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