Bracewell & Giuliani

Powered by the attorneys of Bracewell & Giuliani, Energy Legal Blog® is your resource for updates and analysis on national and global energy issues.
  1. Federal District Court Denies Barclays Motion to Dismiss FERC Petition Which Alleges Manipulation and Assesses Significant Penalties

    Thursday, May 21, 2015 2:02 pm by , , and

    For the past two years we have been tracking and reporting on an enforcement proceeding brought by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) against Barclays Bank PLC (“Barclays”), Daniel Brin, Scott Connelly, Karen Levine, and Ryan Smith (collectively, the “Traders” and together with Barclays, “Defendants”) for alleged manipulative trading in the western electricity markets from November 2006 to December 2008. Yesterday, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California denied a motion by the Defendants to dismiss the manipulation action. Although the court’s order did not address the merits of the manipulation charge, the court’s order is significant because it is the first judicial ruling on the scope of FERC’s enforcement authority over the physical electricity markets and the court found that FERC can pursue civil penalty actions against individuals as well as companies. (more…)

  2. FERC Assesses $5 Million Penalty Against Maxim Power for Alleged Manipulation of ISO-NE Market and for Misleading the Independent Market Monitor

    Tuesday, May 5, 2015 8:18 am by

    On May 1, 2015 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) assessed a $5 million civil penalty against Maxim Power Corporation (Maxim) and its affiliates and an additional $50,000 civil penalty against Kyle Mitton, an energy marketing analyst working for Maxim, for allegedly violating FERC’s anti-manipulation rule and a regulation against submitting false or misleading information to a market monitor. Specifically, FERC alleges that Maxim bid in its Pittsfield generating plant in the ISO-NE day ahead market on oil during certain hot summer days in 2010 when it actually ran on much cheaper natural gas. According to FERC, Maxim hoped to be paid the significantly higher oil price even though it actually ran on cheaper natural gas. FERC maintains that Maxim mislead the ISO-NE Independent Market Monitor (IMM) when its bidding was questioned, giving the IMM the impression that Maxim actually ran on oil. This misrepresentation, according to FERC, also constituted a fraud in violation of FERC’s anti-manipulation rule. Maxim, on the other hand, argued in response to FERC’s earlier Order to Show Cause that due to pipeline restrictions serving the Pittsfield plant, it bid conservatively to avoid running on a fuel costing more than it bid into the market. Maxim further states that it never provided false information to the IMM. FERC admits that Maxim did not make a false statement and that it eventually did disclose to the IMM that it ran on natural gas. In the end, Maxim was not paid the more expensive price for oil; instead the IMM mitigated the price Maxim was paid to run the Pittsfield plant, a mitigation $3 million. (more…)

  3. FERC Adopts Changes to Natural Gas Pipeline Nomination Timelines as Part of Gas-Electric Coordination Efforts

    Friday, April 17, 2015 8:46 am by

    In a move that will affect gas-fired generators, shippers on interstate natural gas pipelines, and the pipelines themselves, FERC has adopted changes to its rules that will modify the nomination timelines for scheduling interstate natural gas pipeline transportation service. The changes, set forth in an order issued concurrently with FERC’s April 16, 2015 monthly meeting, (1) extend the deadline for the day-ahead Timely Nomination Cycle from 11:30 am Central Clock Time (“CCT”) to 1:00 pm CCT, and (2) add a third intraday nomination cycle on top of the existing two, with new intraday nomination deadlines of 10:00 am, 2:30 pm, and 7:00 pm. The changes will become effective 75 days after the forthcoming publication of FERC’s order in the Federal Register. (more…)

  4. FERC Enforcement Developments

    Friday, March 13, 2015 3:08 pm by

    During the past few months, there have been a number of important developments concerning FERC enforcement matters. FERC Enforcement staff is involved in four cases that are currently in litigation either before a FERC administrative law judge or in Federal district court. This is the easily the most cases that FERC Enforcement has had in court at any one time. In addition, FERC has three other cases in the order to show cause stage and it appears that all three may also end up in federal court. There are a number of consequences from this unprecedented amount of enforcement litigation. First, market participants should get some clarity from the courts on the reach of the FERC anti-manipulation rule. These are the first court challenges on the rule. Second, FERC enforcement investigations have slowed considerably. While FERC has significant resources devoted to enforcement, FERC did not staff that division expecting this many simultaneous court actions. Absent a considerable influx of staff, FERC investigations will take longer to resolve. (more…)

  5. D.C. Circuit Amends Its Smith Lake Opinion Dismissing Appeal of FERC Licensing Order

    Tuesday, February 3, 2015 5:13 pm by and

    On January 30, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (D.C. Circuit) took the highly unusual step of amending an earlier opinion and issuing a statement to further explain its rejection as untimely of an appeal filed by property owners in response to FERC’s issuance of a new 30-year hydroelectric license to Alabama Power Company.  Although the D.C. Circuit amended its prior opinion and issued an explanatory statement, it nevertheless denied en banc review of its earlier decision.

    Previously, on September 26, 2014, the D.C. Circuit issued an opinion holding that a petition for review by the Smith Lake Improvement and Stakeholder Association was filed too late with the Court.  Under Section 313(b) of the Federal Power Act, an aggrieved party wishing to appeal a final FERC order has 60 days from the date of the order being appealed to seek court review. (more…)

  6. Upcoming FERC-566 Filing Deadline and Proposed Revisions to Part 46 Filing Requirements

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015 10:56 am by

    The filing deadline for FERC-566, the Annual Report of a Utility’s 20 Largest Customers, is coming up on January 31, 2015.  Under this annual filing requirement, public utilities are required to prepare and publish a list that includes any company, firm, or organization that is one of the 20 largest retail purchasers of electric energy purchased (for purposes other than resale) from the public utility during any one of the three preceding calendar years.[1]  Even if no retail sales were made, under the regulations, public utilities are currently required to submit a brief filing notifying the Commission of that fact.  This requirement is codified in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“FERC” or “Commission”) regulations at 18 C.F.R. Part 46.  (more…)

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