On January 22, 2014, FERC held a technical conference addressing revisions to its electronic quarterly report (“EQR”) process.  During the conference, a FERC staff member commented that the filing window for third quarter (“Q3”) 2013 EQRs, which had been indefinitely delayed from October 31, 2013, could open March 1, with a deadline of March 31, although the date must be approved by the Commission.  FERC delayed the Q3 2013 filing date until the new web-based approach was available. FERC requires public utilities and certain non-public utilities to file EQRs in order to have rates on file and available for public inspection, pursuant to the Federal Power Act Sections 205(c) and 220 (see February 13, 2013 edition of the WER).  FERC called the conference to demonstrate the new EQR filing system.

As part of its revisions to the EQR process, FERC is introducing a framework for utilities to file their EQRs in an extensible mark-up language (“XML”) file, in addition to a new interface that allows utilities to submit data manually or with a comma-separated values (“CSV”).  Filings after Q3 2013 must be made with the new filing system.  If a prior submission to Q3 2013 requires revision because more complete information has been obtained or errors are found, or if a prior submission requires refiling to adjust or amend billing, then utilities should use Visual Fox Pro, the legacy system.

FERC staff also urged utilities to use the “sandbox” tool, a program in FERC’s EQR filing system that allows utilities to test the validity of their data, before FERC removes the tool sometime in February.  However, FERC staff indicated that the new interface will include a “test only” option, which also allows utilities to test the validity of their data, after the “sandbox” tool is removed.

An archived version of the full webcast is available for three months here.  Transcripts of the conference are available for a fee at (202)-347-3700 or (800)-336-6646