Auditors slam FERC's system management

The Energy Department's Inspector General has found that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission bungled its systems management and runs the risk of buying obsolete and needlessly expensive systems that won't meet user needs.

The IG report, completed in June and made public today, states that FERC officials should build an enterprise architecture, adopt capital planning and project management methods, and re-evaluate their system development projects.

In a written response to the report, FERC officials generally accepted its recommendations. They added that the report covered ground that an independent study of the agency's systems had reviewed two years ago.

Following that study, FERC's leadership reorganized its CIO office and reduced system costs. But the IG report said the commission should further reform its software development methods to avoid additional problems.

The report noted that the commission had deployed a system called the FERC Automated Management Information System in 1999 as a Web-based method of tracking internal documents and managing the agency's workload. But the commission scuttled the $11 million FAMIS project after only three years because it did not achieve its intended goals.

The commission now is building FERC Online, a $31 million system that merges nine separate development projects. The IG reported that of the six FERC Online modules with significant development under way, four did not meet their original deployment dates.

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