Report of the Electricity Regulation & Compliance Committee

Energy Law Journal, January 1, 2010 | Go to article overview

Report of the Electricity Regulation & Compliance Committee


This report provides a summary of significant decisions, orders, or rules issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the FERC or Commission) in 2009 in the electricity regulation and compliance area. The first part of the report addresses significant rulemaking orders and policy statements issued in 2009, while the remainder of the report addresses Commission orders in individual cases.

I. INTRODUCTION

The Electricity Regulation & Compliance Committee, which prepared this report, has a broad focus and overlapping jurisdiction with several other EBA committees. As these other committees have a more targeted focus, we have generally deferred to those other committees for a summary of the Commission's activities in their respective areas. Thus, this report does not generally address transmission reliability and planning (System Reliability, Planning & Compliance Committee), wholesale market-based rates (Power Generation & Marketing Committee), and demand-side management/renewable energy (Renewable Energy & Demand-Side Management Committee). In addition, this report does not generally address court appeals (Judicial Review Committee).

II. RULEMAKINGS AND POLICY STATEMENTS

A. Order Nos. 717-A and 717-B: Standards of Conduct for Transmission Providers

The FERCs Order No. 717-A1 granted rehearing and clarification with respect to certain aspects of the FERCs rulemaking on standards of conduct. The Commission stated that the focus of Order No. 717 was to "make [the rules] clearer and to re-focus the rules on the areas with the greatest potential for abuse."2 Among other things, the FERC determined in Order No. 717-A that: balancing load with energy or capacity is not, by itself, a transmission function;3 granting or denying transmission service requests is a transmission function "regardless of the duration of the service requested;"4 performing a system impact study or determining whether a transmission system can support a request for transmission service is a transmission function;5 an officer or supervisor who disapproves a power sales contract does not become a marketing function employee by providing an explanation concerning the disapproval so long as he or she is not actively and personally engaged on a day-to-day basis in the contract negotiations;6 resale or reassignment of transmission service is a marketing function;7 de minimis off-system sales that are related to an local distribution company's (LDC) balancing requirements are not marketing functions;8 incidental purchases or sales of natural gas by an affiliate of an interstate pipeline, for purposes of remaining in balance under applicable pipeline tariffs, are not marketing functions;9 a pipeline shipper is not performing a marketing function when it assigns gas supply to its asset manager; "information about a planned transmission outage is always transmission function information no matter how far in the future the planned transmission outage will occur;"11 "meetings including both transmission function and marketing function employees are not barred under the Standards of Conduct as long as the meetings do not relate to transmission or marketing functions;"12 the requirement to create records regarding certain classes of permitted communications, including information necessary to maintain or restore operation of the transmission system or generating units, or that may affect the dispatch of generating units, does not apply unless the information in question is transmission function information;13 the recordation requirement is met by recording names, date, time, duration, and subject matter of communications; 4 the training requirement for supervisors applies to "supervisory employees who supervise other employees subject to the Standards [of Conduct] or who may come in contact with non-public transmission function information;"15 and that the yearly training requirement applies on a calendar year, rather than a 365 day, basis. …

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