On April 21, 2011, FERC released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) that would require non-public utilities with annual wholesale sales greater than four million megawatt hours (“MWh”) and non-public utility balancing authorities with more than one million MWh in wholesale sales to submit Electric Quarterly Reports (“EQRs”).  The NOPR also seeks to update filing requirements to include: 1) transaction date, time, and type of rate; 2) whether the deal was reported to an index publisher; 3) if a broker or exchange were used and the identity of the broker or exchange; and 4) e-Tag ID data for the transactions.  In addition, the Commission proposes to eliminate the DUNS number requirement and time zones while standardizing the unit for reporting energy and capacity deals.

The Commission first required EQRs for all public utilities in 2002 through Order No. 2001.  Order No. 2001 mandated that public utilities file EQRs to provide a report on cost-based and market-based contracts and transactions.  Since 2002, the EQR has been refined to include transmission capacity reassignments and conformity to a Data Dictionary. Also, when Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (“EPAct 2005”), the Commission was granted more expansive authority to gather market data from market participants.

The Commission proposed changing its EQR regulations to facilitate market transparency under its authority granted through EPAct 2005 through a January 2010 Notice of Inquiry.  EPAct 2005 directs FERC to facilitate price transparency in electric transactions in interstate commerce, and it gives the Commission the ability to disseminate information on wholesale electricity and transmission.  Further, EPAct 2005 states the Commission can obtain information from “any market presence,” unless that entity has a de minimis market presence.  The Commission believes the current NOPR for non-public utilities is necessary to facilitate price transparency in the wholesale electricity markets.

Comments on the NOPR are due sixty days from publication in the Federal Register, and a copy of the NOPR is available here.