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FERC Gets a New View of the Wholesale Electric Markets

Mustafa Ostrander

01 June 2012
FERC issued a final rule approving new ongoing data reporting requirements for Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators.  The new rule will require the six RTO/ISOs – PJM, NYISO, ISO-New England, Midwest ISO, Southwest Power Pool, and the California ISO – to begin supplying FERC with a treasure trove of new, non-public transactional data from the wholesale electric markets.  This development, which will substantially enhance FERC’s ability to scan market data to identify potentially anti-competitive or manipulative activity, comes on the heels of the recent creation of the Division of Analytics and Surveillance within the agency’s Office of Enforcement.
FERC Gets a New View of the Wholesale Electric Markets

 The final rule, which follows a NOPR issued in October 2011, remains largely unchanged from the agency’s initial proposal.  RTOs and ISOs are now required to provide data regarding the following areas in an electronic format on an ongoing basis:

  • Physical bids and offers
  • Virtual bids and offers
  • Market awards
  • Resource outputs
  • Marginal cost estimates
  • Shift factors
  • Financial transmission rights
  • Internal bilateral transactions
  • Pricing data for interchange transactions
  • Uplift charges and credits

For data created on a daily basis, RTOs and ISOs are required to submit the information within seven days of when the ISO/RTO creates the datasets in a market run or other procedure.  For data that are updated less frequently than a daily basis, the RTO or ISO must submit the information within seven days of when it is created or updated.  Finally, the ISO/RTO must submit corrected data within seven days of their correction, and it must indicate whether the correction is an addition, deletion or other change.   

 FERC explains that the additional ongoing data will enhance FERC’s policymaking and enforcement capabilities.  According to FERC:

 [The] ongoing electronic delivery of data from each RTO and ISO would facilitate the Commission’s development and evaluation of its policies and regulations and would enhance Commission efforts to detect anti-competitive or manipulative behavior, or ineffective market rules, thereby helping to ensure just and reasonable rates.

 FERC also concluded that the new reporting by RTOs and ISOs will not be duplicative of the quarterly transactional reports currently submitted by individual market participants.  Further, with respect to the burden that the new rule places on the ISOs and RTOs, FERC reasons that an ongoing data requirement will be more efficient to administer than responding to individual ad hoc requests that FERC currently relies upon to obtain market information.   

 FERC is requiring ISOs and RTOs to make compliance tariff filings providing for the electronic submission of data pursuant this final rule.  As far as implementation is concerned, FERC is permitting data submitters to implement their new data submission duties on a phased-in basis, with complete compliance within 210 days of the effective date of the rule (which occurs 60 days after the publication of the final rule in the Federal Register).

 FERC states that it will maintain the confidentiality of the data it receives under this rule, and suggested that it would view such data to be exempt from FOIA disclosure.

Mustafa Ostrander

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