FERC Exemption Application Information

FERC Exemption Applications overview

Utica Water and Power Authority Background

The primary purpose of Utica Water and Power Authority (Utica) is to operate and maintain a 27-mile-long water supply system that provides the sole public water supply to 10,000 people in the Murphys, Douglas Flat, Vallecito, and Angels Camp communities, and provides irrigation water to more than 1,000 acres of agricultural land in Calaveras County¸ California. To help offset the maintenance cost of the water supply system, Utica operates two small hydroelectric powerhouses, each operating under a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license, P-2019 Utica Project, and P-2699 Angels Project.

FERC Exemption Process

Both of Utica’s federal licenses include the powerhouses and associated water conveyance facilities. They are both 30-year term licenses that will expire in 2033. The purpose of FERC licenses is to ensure the licensee (Utica) is safely operating its facilities and that the power and water conveyance facilities conform with the environmental and other needs of the public waterways. The existing federal licenses provide a solid framework for Utica and others to manage water flows and meet community needs. Prior to 2033, Utica would need to apply for new FERC licenses for its two projects. The upcoming relicensing process would take at least five years and could cost the Utica and the communities Utica serves up to $10 million to complete. For context, Utica’s annual budget is around $3 million.

However, there is an alternative type of federal authorization that could be issued known as a FERC Conduit Exemption. Pursuing an exemption requires an application process similar to relicensing. If FERC approves exemptions for the Utica and Angels projects, it would lead to permanent FERC authorization to operate the powerhouses, with all of the water conveyance system continuing to operate as it does now, but under local authorization and control.

Joint Meeting: Jan. 25, 2024

To view the slide presentation from the Joint Meeting held on Thursday January 25, 2024, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Click here.

Benefits of Exemptions

While there are many benefits of a FERC Exemption, key highlights include:

Estimated Timeline

In 2023, Utica met with various stakeholders to discuss the process of pursuing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) exemptions for both the Utica and Angels hydroelectric projects. Two initial consultation documents (ICDs) – in the form of draft exemption applications – were prepared and circulated to stakeholders in December 2023. About 30 days after circulating the initial documents, Utica will hold a joint meeting and site visit on Thursday January 25, 2024. That meeting provides an opportunity for Utica’s team to present information to a large group of stakeholders, answer questions, and receive feedback. Following the joint meeting, stakeholders have 60 days to submit comments on Utica’s draft exemption applications. Comments are due on Monday March 25, 2024. Utica’s team will review comments received from stakeholders and determine if actions need to be taken in response to those comments. Once comments have been addressed, Utica plans to prepare final applications for both the Utica and Angels Projects for submission to FERC. Filing the final applications kicks off a formal FERC review process. Many variables could impact the timeline of this process, but it is generally expected to take between 2-3 years.

Distribution of draft exemption application documents
Thursday January 25, 2024
Comments Due Date
Wednesday December 20, 2023
Joint Meeting & Site Visit
Monday March 25, 2024

Exemption Application Documents

Utica Project 2019

Document NameDate UploadedFERC ProjectDownload
Utica Cover Letter12/20/2023P-2019View / Download
Murphys Powerhouse Project Petition for Waiver12/20/2023P-2019View / Download
Utica Introductory Statement12/20/2023P-2019View / Download
Utica Exhibit A12/20/2023P-2019View / Download
Utica Exhibit E12/20/2023P-2019View / Download
Utica Exhibit F12/20/2023P-2019View / Download
Utica Exhibit G12/20/2023P-2019View / Download

Angels Project 2699

Document NameDate UploadedFERC ProjectDownload
Angels Cover Letter12/20/2023P-2699View / Download
Angels Powerhouse Project Petition for Waiver12/20/2023P-2699View / Download
Angels Introductory Statement12/20/2023P-2699View / Download
Angels Exhibit A12/20/2023P-2699View / Download
Angels Exhibit E12/20/2023P-2699View / Download
Angels Exhibit F12/20/2023P-2699View / Download
Angels Exhibit G12/20/2023P-2699View / Download
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