Bracewell’s Michael Brooks discussed with Law360 report Keith Goldberg the challenges in identifying Federal Energy Regulatory Commission enforcement trends since investigations are not public and can take years to complete.
“Enforcement is most often, by its nature, reactive,” Brooks said. “You’ll find the first case and that gives them a model to look around.”
Sometimes it takes a significant event in one corner of the energy sector to get the attention of FERC investigators, added Brooks. He noted that market manipulation cases really took off following the expansion of FERC’s enforcement powers by the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which came in the wake of the Western energy crisis.
Much of FERC’s enforcement activity for the last decade has focused on alleged manipulation of energy markets. But a majority of enforcement penalties and show cause orders issued by FERC so far this year have dinged operators of energy infrastructure.