Understanding the Power Plant Siting Process Schedule

The schedule for licensing can be broken into three parts: Pre-Filing, Pre-Hearing and Hearing.

The first part, Pre-Filing, is applicant-driven, consisting of meetings between the applicant and Energy Commission staff, allowing the staff the opportunity to provide recommendations on data and information needs to make the application complete.

Pre-Filing Milestones

Target Timelines[1]

Informal meetings


The second part is the Pre-Hearing and consists of two components.

  • The first is data adequacy, which occurs before the schedule is determined and is driven by the number of data requests and responses needed to achieve data adequacy.
  • The second is staff discovery and analysis, occurring after the schedule is established. The formal schedule for this portion of the process is set with a Scheduling Order, issued by the Presiding Member of the committee for the case, no later than 15 days after the last informational presentation. The Scheduling Order establishes the timeline for filing documents and holding certain meetings from the informational presentation up to the formal hearings. The Presiding Member can change the schedule or the parties can file a motion with the committee to change the schedule. Usually, the committee requests status reports from the parties to assess whether the case is progressing satisfactorily. Specific calendar milestones typically include (shaded section occurs before the Scheduling Order is issued):

Pre-Hearing Milestones

Target Timelines

Data Adequacy

45 days by staff (day -45-0)

Application for Certification (AFC) filed
(Staff Project Manager assigned)


Data request(s) to applicant
and applicant response(s) [2]


AFC deemed data-adequate
(Energy Commission Committee assigned)

45 days from AFC filing
(Day Zero)

Staff Discovery and Analysis

7 months by staff (day 0-220)

Committee Scheduling Order

No later than 15 days
after last informational  presentation

Staff files Issues Identification Report

Approx. 5 days prior to Informational Hearing

Site Visit and Informational Hearing

30-45 days from data adequacy

Committee Scheduling Conference

45-60 days from data adequacy

Data Response and Issue Resolution Workshop(s)


Data exchange among parties


Parties file status report(s)[3]


Preliminary Staff Assessment (PSA) filed

165 days from data adequacy

PSA Workshop

170-180 days from data adequacy

Local, State and Federal agency determinations[4]


Committee Conference(s)[5]


Final Staff Assessment (FSA) filed

200-220 days from data adequacy

The third part is the Hearing and consists of the formal evidentiary hearings by the Committee and the Commission decision. After the Prehearing Conference, the Hearing Order is prepared by the committee to set forth the schedule and procedures for the hearings, as well as identify issues, witnesses and testimony for the hearings. The committee may amend the order on its own motion or upon the motion of a party. The Presiding Member may order a public hearing on any motion to amend the hearing order. Specific calendar milestones typically include:

Hearing Milestones

Target Timelines

Committee Evidentiary Hearings and Commission Decision

5 months by Committee and
Commission (day 220-365)

Pre-Hearing Conference(s)
(End of period to Intervene)[6]

After FSA filed

Committee Hearing Order

Issued after Pre-Hearing Conference

Evidentiary Hearing(s)

220-240 days from data adequacy

Party briefs are filed


Presiding Member’s Proposed Decision (PMPD)

305 days from data adequacy

PMPD Conference

330 days from data adequacy

Possible Revised PMPD

350 days from data adequacy

Possible Revised PMPD Conference


Commission Decision

365 days from data adequacy

NOTICE: Distributed by the Public Adviser's Office. This is for informational purposes only. It is designed to assist you in understanding the process. It is, therefore, general in nature and does not discuss all exceptions and variations.

  1. It is important to note that these generic time estimates are provided only for a point of reference in an ideal schedule; actual schedules are impacted by many factors.
  2. Amount varies on need.
  3. Amount varies on need.
  4. As needed.
  5. As needed.
  6. "In a power plant siting case, the petition [to intervene] shall be filed no later than the Prehearing Conference or 30 days prior to the first hearing held. . .whichever is earlier…" (Title 20, Sec1207(b))