FERC Tees Up Enforcement for 2013
The specter of enforcement actions by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is looming large over the energy industries. In the post-election flurry of FERC enforcement activity, FERC curtailed JP Morgan Venture Energy Corp.'s authority to sell power at market-based rates; opened investigations into the rates of two oil pipelines, Wyoming Interstate Company, L.L.C. and Viking Gas Transmission Company; settled with Gila River Power, LLC over allegations of market manipulation in the California energy markets; initiated an inquiry to improve price transparency in the natural gas markets; and initiated approximately ten audits of natural gas pipelines and other energy industry market participants. Buried amongst this industry-shaking deluge was the FERC Office of Enforcement's 2012 Report on Enforcement. In the report, FERC Enforcement stated it was going to continue focusing on last year's priorities, which were:
- fraud and market manipulation;
- serious violations of the reliability standards;
- anti-competitive conduct; and
- conduct that threatens the transparency of the regulated markets. This means that the industry can expect to see essentially more of the same from FERC Enforcement.