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FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments
This week, FERC submitted its annual financial report to the US Congress. Although part of the regular slate of voluminous reports sent up to Capitol Hill each year, FERC’s report often includes certain nuggets of information useful to the regulated community.
In a final rule issued on June 16, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) directed the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to make available to FERC staff certain databases developed by NERC that contain detailed, entity-specific information on transmission and generation assets as well as protection system misoperations.
On March 21, 2016, the North American Electricity Reliability Corporation (NERC) submitted an informational filing to update the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) on the implementation of the Risk-Based Registration (RBR) initiative—a program NERC launched to reduce unnecessary compliance and registration burdens through the use of risk-based assessments.
On November 19, 2012, FERC approved a stipulation and settlement agreement with Gila River Power, LLC, in which Gila River admitted to manipulating the California ISO (CAISO) electric market By arranging nonexistent wheeling transactions to artificially reduce congestion on an interface used as a critical import path to the CAISO market.
On January 11, 2012, FERC issued an order approving a settlement relating to allegations that a Senior Vice President of North America Power Partners (NAPP) engaged in fraudulent conduct in violation of FERC’s prohibition against market manipulation and committed violations of the PJM Interconnection, LLC’s (PJM’s) Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT).
On November 17, FERC Staff held a Technical Conference to discuss the Penalty Guidelines issued on September 17, 2010 and their impact on compliance and enforcement matters.
On September 21, 2011, FERC issued a Notice of Technical Conference to discuss “the impact of the Penalty Guidelines on compliance and enforcement matters.” It noted that “[m]ore information on the topics to be explored and the number and composition of the panels will be provided in subsequent notices.” The conference will be held on November 17, from 1:00 p.m.
On August 29, the Commission approved a $350,000 settlement between the Grand River Dam Authority, NERC, and FERC to settle allegations of Reliability Standard violations By the Grand River Dam Authority, an Oklahoma state agency.
At the NERC Board of Trustees meeting this week in Vancouver, Canada, NERC outlined a new initiative intended to reduce the administrative burden on Registered Entities associated with the processing of Reliability Standard violations.

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.