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Powered by the attorneys of Bracewell & Giuliani, Energy Legal Blog® is your resource for updates and analysis on national and global energy issues.
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  1. FERC Fines Columbia Gas $350,000 for Violating Auction Rules

    Friday, July 31, 2015 9:35 am by and

    On July 30, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a stipulation and consent agreement between the FERC Office of Enforcement and Columbia Gas Transmission LLC (Columbia Gas) for violations of Section 4 of Columbia Gas’s tariff governing auctions for firm capacity. Columbia Gas admitted the violations and agreed to a $350,000 civil penalty along with compliance improvements. (more…)


  2. Senate Energy Bill Provisions On Hydro Licensing

    Tuesday, July 28, 2015 1:57 pm by

    The draft comprehensive energy bill released by Senator Murkowski, Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and reflecting her collaboration with Senator Cantwell, the Ranking Member on the Committee, contains a number of provisions relating to hydro. If enacted in anything close to their present form, these provisions would represent the most ambitious reform of the hydroelectric licensing process since the Electric Consumers Protection Act of 1986 (“ECPA”).  However,  ECPA essentially represented a bargain between owners of existing hydro who were concerned about the possibility of municipal take overs upon relicensing, and the environmental community who wanted to essentially retrofit the National Environmental Policy Act concepts into projects that were developed under the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) and constructed in the early and mid-twentieth century.  The most recent draft hydro reform amendments, by contrast, are largely procedural and appear to be designed to make the hydro process ushered in by ECPA actually work more effectively, without the delays, environmental squabbling, litigation and expense engendered by the existing regime.   (more…)


  3. FERC’s Demand Response Policy Defended at the Supreme Court

    Friday, July 17, 2015 2:54 pm by

    Briefs defending the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s demand response (“DR”) pricing policy were filed in the Supreme Court of the United States on July 9, 2015. The arguments set forth in those briefs will determine whether FERC’s robust support of DR as a player in competitive wholesale electric energy markets will survive legal scrutiny. Notably, the brief submitted by the Solicitor General of the United States (“SG) on behalf of FERC reflects interesting and somewhat surprising choices in defense of the Commission’s policy which D.C. Circuit had characterized as regulatory overreach and overturned. (more…)


  4. Scope of Trial De Novo Debated in Barclays Electricity Manipulation Case

    Wednesday, June 24, 2015 4:34 pm by , and

    After almost eight years since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) commenced its investigation against Barclays Bank PLC (Barclays) and four of its traders, Scott Connelly, Daniel Brin, Karen Levine and Ryan Smith, for allegedly manipulating the California electricity markets, Barclays filed its answer in federal district court. As expected, Barclays denied all of FERC’s substantive allegations and asserted that the District Court should give no merit to FERC’s findings of fact or legal conclusions. FERC, according to Barclays and the individual traders, must prove its case before an independent arbiter and cannot rely on anything that happened at the agency level. FERC is seeking a $435 million civil penalty against Barclays; $15 million against Connelly; and $1 million each from Brin and Levine. (more…)


  5. FERC Issues Two Oil Pipeline Audits

    Thursday, June 18, 2015 10:50 am by and

    On June 17, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Division of Audits and Accounting, Office of Enforcement (DAA), issued two audit reports involving oil pipelines, the Colonial Pipeline Company Docket No. FA14-4 and Enterprise Products Partners, L.P., Docket No. FA14-1. The Enterprise audit focused on Mid-American Pipeline Company, LLC (MAPL), a subsidiary of Enterprise. These reports are significant because they demonstrate that FERC audit staff is taking a comprehensive look at oil pipeline accounting and rate issues along with enhanced scrutiny of affiliate issues. DAA found five minor areas of noncompliance in the Colonial audit and ten findings of noncompliance with respect to Enterprise. The Enterprise findings were more significant because they involved under recovery of revenues as a result of dealings with an affiliate and failure to follow proper accounting for depreciation and prepaid leases, among other findings. In addition to Colonial and Enterprise, FERC has also announced two other oil pipeline company audits involving Enbridge Energy Partners LP, Docket No. FA15-4, and Plantation Pipe Line Company, Docket FA15-12. Prior to these audits, FERC had not audited an oil pipeline in many years. (more…)


  6. FERC Accepts PJM Capacity Performance Proposal

    Tuesday, June 16, 2015 2:36 pm by , and

    On June 9, 2015, FERC issued an order accepting PJM’s proposal to modify its forward capacity market, the Reliability Pricing Model (“RPM”), to establish a new capacity product, the Capacity Performance Resource.  PJM’s proposal is designed to tighten the performance standards applicable to resources that receive a capacity obligation through the RPM and is intended to address poor resource performance that has been experienced since implementation of the RPM, especially during the 2014 polar vortex.

    Once implemented, PJM’s proposal will impose more stringent performance standards on resources that receive a capacity obligation through the RPM, including imposing non-performance charges when resources fail to perform and bonus payments for over-performance. All capacity resources will be eligible to offer as Capacity Performance Resources, and demand resources, energy efficiency resources, capacity storage resources, and intermittent resources will be allowed to aggregate their capabilities in order to reliably perform during emergency conditions. A Non-Performance Charge will be assessed on resources who fail to perform during system emergencies. (more…)


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