FERC considers 2015 enforcement report

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is scheduled to consider its 2015 Report on Enforcement when it meets later this week.

The FERC is an independent federal agency charged with regulating certain U.S. energy resources and activities, including the interstate transmission of electricity, natural gas, and oil, as well as hydropower and liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals.

Since at least 2007, FERC releases an annual report describing its enforcement activity.  Recent FERC enforcement reports include:

These reports illustrate that FERC's enforcement of the federal energy laws it manages has become a higher priority for the Commission in recent years.  Congress enhanced FERC's enforcement powers through the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gives FERC the authority to levy fines of up to $1,000,000 per day for some violations.  Enforcement continued to escalate in priority through a subsequent restructuring of the Commission's Office of Enforcement, and President Obama's selection of chief enforcement officer Norman Bay as FERC's chairman.

Penalties assessed by FERC through enforcement actions have also increased in recent years, with over $5.8 million in refunds, over $148 million in civil penalties and disgorgement of over $119 million in unjust profits in fiscal year 2012, and over $304 million in civil penalties and disgorgement of almost $141 million in unjust profits in fiscal year 2013.

The Commission will next meet on November 19 at its Washington, DC headquarters.  On its agenda is an item captioned as A-3, AD07-13-009, "2015 Report on Enforcement."  While much of FERC's enforcement activity begins in a non-public mode, the annual staff report sheds some light on the Commission's overall approach to enforcement.  FERC's free live webcast is also available during the meeting and will be archived for 3 months.

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