On June 4, 2012, FERC issued an order adopting a paper hearing process to address audit recommendations and factual findings in an ongoing dispute between FERC Staff and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) over a financial performance audit (see June 4, 2012 edition of the WER).  In response to a request by NERC, the Commission also exercised its discretion to designate certain staff from the Office of Enforcement to act as non-decisional employees, such that those employees will not serve as advisors to the Commission or take part in the Commission’s review of any potential offer of settlement.

In its order, the Commission found that the paper hearing should address the 42 audit recommendations made in the May 4, 2012 Audit Report on Budget Formulation, Administration, and Execution (“Audit Report”) as well as the disputed factual findings in the Audit Report.  NERC proposed in its May 15, 2012 “Statement on Procedures” in this proceeding that a paper hearing should only address the 42 audit recommendations, but the Commission is giving NERC an opportunity to specify the factual findings with which it disagrees.  The Commission stated that NERC “may be bound by any factual findings it does not challenge.”

The Commission’s Order is available here.