At the open meeting on June 21, 2012, FERC announced the issuance of multiple Notice of Public Rulemakings (“NOPR”) pertaining to: (1) changes to policies governing the sale of ancillary services; (2) changes to the definition of the “bulk electric system;” and (3) revisions to filing requirements for Electric Quarterly Reports (“EQR”).

The first NOPR proposes to revise FERC policies governing the sale of ancillary services at market-based rates.  Specifically, FERC proposes to revise its regulations governing market-based rate authorizations to provide that sellers passing existing market-based rate analyses in a given geographic market should be granted a rebuttable presumption that they lack horizontal market power for sales of energy imbalance and generator imbalance ancillary services in that market.  The Commission also seeks comment on whether the use of a new limited reporting requirement in which each transmission provider posts on its OASIS information as to the aggregate amount of each ancillary service that it has historically required, could be used by potential sellers of ancillary services as part of an optional market power screen solely applicable to ancillary services.  Further, the Commission seeks comments on use of two OATT-based price caps which could be proposed as mitigation of potential horizontal market power in ancillary services for those sellers who fail or forego relevant market power screens for the ancillary services in question.  Under the first option, third parties would be permitted to sell to a public utility buyer at rates not to exceed the buying transmission provider’s existing OATT rate for the same ancillary service.  Under the second option, third parties could propose to sell a given ancillary service to a public utility buyer at rates not to exceed the highest transmission provider OATT rate within the relevant geographic market for physical trading of the applicable ancillary service. 

Additionally, the NOPR proposes to require transmission providers outside of an organized energy market to revise their open access transmission tariffs to explain how they will determine regulation and frequency response reserve requirements in a manner which considers the speed and accuracy of resources used. The NOPR also proposes to revise FERC’s Uniform System of Accounts to better account for and report transactions associated with energy storage devices.

The second NOPR issued proposes to approve the North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (“NERC”) revised definition for “bulk electric system.”  The revisions include establishing a bright-line definition to include all facilities operated at or above 100 kV.  The NOPR proposes to eliminate the discretion regional entities have to define the “bulk electric system” in their own region without oversight from the Commission or NERC.  In addition, the NOPR proposes to allow NERC to add or remove elements from the definition of “bulk electric system” on a case-by-case basis.

Lastly, FERC issued a NOPR to change the process for filing EQRs, proposing two new options for filing such reports.  The first method would allow a filer to file an EQR using a web interface located on FERC’s website.  This option is similar to the current filing method, but eliminates the need to download or install any software.  The second option would allow a user to file an EQR in an Extensible Mark-Up Language (“XML”) format through FERC’s website.  The proposed changes are to apply to EQR filings beginning with the third quarter 2013 EQR, providing data for July through September 2013.

Comments on all NOPRs are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The NOPR for Third-Party Provision of Ancillary Services; Accounting and Financial Reporting for New Electric Storage Technologies can be found here.

The NOPR for Revisions to Electric Reliability Organization Definition of Bulk Electric System and Rules of Procedure can be found here.

The NOPR for Revisions to Electric Quarterly Report Filing Process can be found here.