On July 28, 2022, FERC proposed a new “duty of candor” rule that would broadly apply to “all entities communicating with the Commission or other specified organizations related to a matter subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission.” According to the Commission, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) is intended to capture the types of communications that may not have been included in the Commission’s existing communication rules and policies, some of which have an existing duty of candor standard.

Continue Reading FERC Proposes a New, Broader Duty of Candor Rule

On June 24th and 27th, 2022 FERC approved two stipulations and consent agreements between FERC’s Office of Enforcement (“Enforcement”) and two separate project developers. First, sPower Development Company, LLC (“sPower Devco”) agreed to a civil penalty of $24,000 after Enforcement determined that sPower Devco violated PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM’s”) Tariff by submitting inaccurate information in PJM’s interconnection process. Second, Salem Harbor Power Development LP (“Harbor Power Devco”) agreed to a civil penalty of $17 million, to disgorge $26.7 million in profits, and to submit to compliance monitoring after Enforcement found that it collected capacity revenues on a project that had not yet been built nor was in commercial operation.

Continue Reading Generation Project Developers Agree to Pay Civil Penalties, Disgorge Profits, after FERC Enforcement Investigations

On April 21, 2022, FERC issued an order assessing a civil penalty of $600,000 to Ampersand Cranberry Lake Hydro, LLC (“Ampersand”), licensee for the 595 kilowatt (kW) Cranberry Lake Hydroelectric Project in St. Lawrence County, New York, for violation of Article 5 of the project’s license, which requires a licensee to retain possession of all project property covered by the license.
Continue Reading FERC Assesses $600,000 Civil Penalty to Hydro Licensee

On March 28, 2022 and March 29, 2022, FERC issued two orders approving stipulation and consent agreements between FERC’s Office of Enforcement and Dynegy Marketing and Trade, LLC (“Dynegy”) and Constellation NewEnergy Inc. (“Constellation”), respectively. Among other things, Dynegy agreed to pay a $450,000 civil penalty for alleged violations of PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) capacity tariff requirements, and Constellation agreed to pay a $2.4 million civil penalty for alleged violations of California Independent System Operator Corp. (“CAISO”) resource adequacy tariff requirements.
Continue Reading FERC Approves Civil Penalties for Alleged Violations of CAISO and PJM Market Rules

On January 5, 2022, FERC denied a motion of the Andrew Kittell Estate (“Kittell Estate”) to drop FERC’s enforcement action against GreenHat Energy, LLC (“GreenHat”) because of an October 1, 2021 revelation that FERC’s decisional staff had improperly communicated with FERC enforcement litigation staff (“Email Exchange”) regarding the GreenHat enforcement proceeding, potentially violating FERC’s Separation of Functions regulations (“January 5 Order”). In the January 5 Order, however, FERC abstained from deciding whether the Email Exchange violated Commission regulations, finding that “the conduct at issue here would not warrant the extraordinary remedy of dismissal,” which sparked a dissent from Commissioner Danly, who “would have explicitly found that the email exchange . . . was inappropriate, ordered the two attorneys barred from all future involvement in this matter, and directed Commission staff to conduct a robust, public investigation with findings to be set forth in a later Commission order.”
Continue Reading FERC Denies Motion to Drop Enforcement Action in GreenHat Proceeding, Sparking Dissent from Commissioner Danly

On December 16, 2021, FERC ordered Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. and its subsidiary Rover Pipeline, LLC (“Rover Pipeline”) to explain why it should not pay a $40 million civil penalty for alleged violations of the Natural Gas Act, and the pipeline’s certificate order, during construction of its 711 mile interstate natural gas pipeline.

FERC’s Office

In an order dated May 20, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC, or the Commission) terminated the hydropower licenses for three projects located on the Tittabawasee River in Michigan—the Secord (P-10809), Smallwood (P-10810) and Sanford (P-2785) dams.  The termination by implied surrender follows a May 2020 breach at the Sanford dam and the breach

On May 20, 2021, FERC issued a Show Cause Order directing GreenHat Energy, LLC (“GreenHat”) and its owners to show why they did not violate the Federal Power Act, FERC’s regulations, the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) Tariff, and the PJM Operating Agreement by manipulating PJM’s Financial Transmission Rights (“FTR”) market, generating $13 million in unjust profits and imposing $179 million in losses on PJM members. FERC also directed GreenHat and its owners to file an answer with FERC within 30 days showing why they should not be required to disgorge $13 million in unjust profits, plus interest, and to pay civil penalties totaling $229 million. FERC’s order is accompanied by a report from FERC’s Office of Enforcement (“OE Report”). Commissioner James Danly issued a separate concurring statement.
Continue Reading FERC Issues Show Cause Order Directing GreenHat Energy to Respond to Market Manipulation Claims

On December 17, 2020, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing to revise its regulations to establish incentives for public utilities to make certain cybersecurity investments that go beyond the current requirements of the Critical Infrastructure Protection (“CIP”) Reliability Standards established by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) (“Cybersecurity NOPR”). Specifically, FERC proposed rules to allow regulated entities to:

  1. receive incentive-based rate treatment for the voluntary implementation of: (i) certain NERC CIP Reliability Standards to facilities that are not currently subject to those requirements (“NERC CIP Incentives Approach”), and/or (ii) certain security controls included in the National Institute of Standards and Technology Framework (“NIST Framework Approach”);
  2. request a return-on-equity adder of two hundred (200) basis points for making eligible cybersecurity capital investments; and
  3. defer cost recovery of certain cybersecurity costs that are generally expensed as incurred, and treat such costs as regulatory assets that may be included in transmission rate base.


Continue Reading FERC Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Cybersecurity Investment Incentives