On July 19, 2016, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) both (a) withdrew its earlier proposed rulemaking (the 2015 NOPR1) that would have collected data from Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs), data required from its market participants, that would: (i) identify the market participants by means of a common alpha-numeric identifier; (ii) list their “Connected Entities,” which includes entities that have certain ownership, employment, debt or contractual relationships to the market participants, as specified in this NOPR; and (iii) describe in brief the nature of the relationship of each Connected Entity in order to assist FERC in screening and investigative efforts to detect market manipulation, an enforcement priority of FERC and (b) issued a new notice of proposed rulemaking (the 2016 NOPR) revising regulations to collect certain data for analytics and surveillance purposes and to change certain aspects of the substance and format of information submitted for market-based rate purposes.

FERC intends the 2016 NOPR to avoid duplication, minimize compliance burdens, modernize data collections and make information collected through its programs more usable for and accessible to FERC and its staff. These data collection requirements would apply to all market-based rate sellers and entities trading virtual products or holding financial transmission rights.

The 2016 NOPR reflects departures from the 2015 NOPR and proposes to adopt changes similar to those in FERC’s December 2015 proposed rulemaking on ownership information in market-based rate filings (in Docket RM16-3-000). Importantly (because the 2015 NOPR provoked significant industry comment and controversy), the 2016 NOPR includes a reworked and substantially narrowed definition of “Connected Entity.” The 2016 NOPR also proposes certain changes to reduce and clarify the scope of ownership information that market-based rate sellers must provide, revise the information required in asset appendices and eliminate the requirement from Order No. 816 that market-based rate sellers submit corporate organizational charts.

Also reflective of the surrounding controversy, FERC has stated that it intends to conduct substantial outreach and convene technical workshops during which staff will seek input on the data dictionary and the submittal process.

Comments on the 2016 NOPR are due 45 days from publication thereof in the Federal Register.

1 The 2015 NOPR was discussed in our September 18, 2015 Legal Update.