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FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments
On June 15, 2011, NERC filed with FERC for approval of the revised Reliability Standard FAC-008-3 (Facility Ratings), which would replace the currently effective FAC-008-1 and FAC-009-1 Reliability Standards.
FERC has relied on Form 2 data to initiate proceedings under Section 5 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) to change prospectively the transmission rates of natural gas companies.
Recognizing that tree contact with transmission lines is a leading cause of electric power outages, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has established a new section on its website: Tree Trimming and Vegetation Management . The website includes information regarding the mandatory Electric Reliability Standards governing vegetation management, as well as landowner rights and proper tree care information.
On April 21, 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) issued a pair of Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) designed to facilitate price transparency in markets for the sale and transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce and to enhance market monitoring capabilities.
Earlier today, in Order No. 750 , FERC approved an interpretation of IRO-005-1 and TOP-005-1, but decided not to adopt the NOPR proposal to direct NERC to modify the Reliability Standards to mandate reporting whenever a Special Protection System (SPS) loses a redundant communication channel.
By Floyd Norton and Michael Keegan The April 2011 issue of The Electricity Journal features an article By Floyd Norton and Michael Keegan titled “Practical Consequences Arising from FERC's Secondary Electric Transmission Market.” Abstract : In September 2010, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission permanently lifted the price cap for transmission customers reassigning electric transmission capacity.

Describing what it considers "a significant number of outages of generating facilities" along with disruptions in natural gas deliveries during the recent extreme cold weather across Texas and the Southwest, on February 14, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) directed the creation of a staff task force to conduct a broad inquiry into those events. Unlike the FERC-led investigation following the 2008 Florida Blackout, this investigation is not, at this time, intended to discover whether any regulations, requirements, or standards were violated. Instead, the investigation is intended to identify (1) the causes of the outages and disruptions and (2) the actions FERC might undertake to prevent a recurrence of these issues.

On January 20, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied a request for rehearing of FERC’s April 15, 2010 order in Docket No. RM04-7-007, which had responded to a request for clarification regarding the categories of employees that may not be permissibly shared under FERC’s Affiliate Restrictions (Clarification Order). To the extent that FERC had stayed the requirement to comply with the Clarification Order, sellers will be required to comply with the Clarification Order within 90 days of the issuance of the January 20, 2011 order—that is, By April 20, 2011. FERC also terminated a rulemaking proceeding that would have codified in the regulations the findings in the Clarification Order.

On January 20, 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order No. 710-B, revising the financial forms, statements, and reports for natural gas companies contained in FERC Form Nos. 2, 2-A, and 3-Q to include functionalized fuel data (on pages 521a through 521c of those forms) and the amount of fuel waived, discounted, or reduced as part of a negotiated rate agreement.

On February 8, 2011, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will hold a Reliability Technical Conference addressing issues related to prioritizing reliability risks confronting the Bulk Power System and prioritizing the Reliability Standards related to such risks.