FERC details enforcement efforts for past fiscal year

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued its 10th annual report on enforcement on Nov. 17 and the document stresses consistency in the enforcement program.

The document reviews the activities of all four FERC Office of Enforcement (OE) Divisions: Analytics and Surveillance, Audits and Accounting, Energy Market Oversight, and Investigations during the past fiscal year.

The report describes both public and non-public enforcement activities. The portions about public activities include summaries of audit reports, market reports, market surveillance and data analysis, litigation filings, and FERC-approved settlements.

The portions about non-public activity include summaries of various closed investigations and self-reports in which the identities of companies and individuals are masked to preserve confidentiality.

The Office of Enforcement said that that its priorities contuse to remain the same. Four chief areas of concentration include: (1) fraud and market manipulation; (2) serious violations of the Reliability Standards; (3) anticompetitive conduct; and (4) conduct that threatens transparency in regulated markets.

The report also summarizes the outcome of various pieces of FERC litigation that went through the federal courts during fiscal year 2016.

Some highlights of the Enforcement Report for 2016:

•Investigations staff opened 17 new investigations while closing 11 pending investigations either with no action or through a Commission-approved settlement. Staff negotiated settlements for almost $12.25m in civil penalties and disgorgement of nearly $5.7m in unjust profits. These settlements also included provisions requiring the subjects to enhance their compliance programs and periodically report back to Enforcement regarding the results of those compliance enhancements.

Since 2007, the total payable, non-pending civil penalties assessed by FERC amounts to approximately $641m, and the total disgorgements amount to slightly over $401m.

•Audits and accounting staff reviewed the conduct of regulated entities through 14 audits of oil pipeline, public utility and natural gas companies, resulting in 214 recommendations for corrective action and directing refunds and recoveries totaling $5.3m.

•Analytics and surveillance staff worked on more than 40 investigations and reviewed numerous instances of potential misconduct, with some reviews resulting in referrals to Investigations.

The 69-page report is Docket No. AD07-13-010.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.