On December 1, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Pat Wood, announced if Congress can’t overhaul the United States energy policy by early 2004, FERC will consider setting its own power grid reliability standards.

During an agency conference on grid reliability, Wood explained the need to create mandatory reliability standards to prevent another blackout like the one in August that left 50 million Americans in the dark.

Officials from the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC), an industry-funded group, were scheduled to address the conference later in the afternoon. Representatives from NERC couldn’t be reached for comment on FERC’s possible actions.

Wood says FERC wants to set standards possibly by Summer 2004.