FERC temporarily extends EQR deadline

Friday, October 25, 2013

As federal regulators of U.S. energy markets update their systems to track electricity sales, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has temporarily extended the deadline for utilities to file Electric Quarterly Reports (known as EQRs).

Under Section 205(c) of the Federal Power Act, "public utilities" must file their rates with the FERC and make them availble for public inspection.  These utilities include traditional vertically-integrated electric companies owning transmission systems as well as independent generators, and even industrial manufacturers with on-site electricity generating facilities and other entities authorized to sell electricity into wholesale markets.

To implement this requirement, the FERC requires utilities to file information about they electricity they sell at negotiated or market-based rates.  To accomplish this, utilities make quarterly filings using FERC's EQR system, which has been in place since 2002.  Most recently, utilities have been required to use free software developed by the FERC to submit EQRs.

While the FERC has updated this proprietary software from time to time, it has been left behind in capability and convenience by more modern technologies and interfaces.  Following the recent FERC Order No. 768, which broadenied EQR filing responsibilites to cover certain non-public utilities, the FERC announced in Order No. 770 that it would transition to a new web-based interface effective with the filings for the third quarter of 2013.  In explaining this shift, the FERC noted that technology changes will render the current filing process "outmoded, ineffective, and unsustainable."  These filings would normally be due on October 31, 2013.

When filing requirements change, as they have several times in the last decade, filers experience a learning curve as they seek to understand the new system.  At the same time, the FERC's development of the new system remains a work in progress.  In an order issued on October 16, the FERC announced that the new web-based approach is not yet available, and extended the deadline to file Q3 2013 EQRs from October 31, 2013 to "a date to be determined."  Once the new web-based approach is available, the FERC will notify all filers and provide the new deadline for filing Q3 2013 EQRs.

For now, filers have some time to prepare for the new system. 

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