Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
1. In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) proposes, pursuant to § 307(a) and § 309 of the Federal Power Act (FPA),
2. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), formerly known as the North American Electric Reliability Council, was established in 1968, in response to the 1965 electricity blackout in the northeast. At that time, the industry-created council included nine regional reliability groups, began regional planning coordination, and developed voluntary operations criteria and guides. Over the years, NERC modified its membership rules and governing structure and, in 2006, the Commission approved NERC's application to become the ERO for the United States.
3. The North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) is a non-profit standards development organization established in January 2002 that serves as an industry forum for the development of business practice standards. NAESB has developed a number of business practice standards that the Commission has incorporated by reference into its regulations, thus making compliance with these standards a mandatory Commission requirement.
4. NERC and NAESB coordinate the development of business practices and reliability standards for the wholesale electric industry. The members and staff of NERC and NAESB actively participate in both organizations, and NERC is a member of the NAESB Wholesale Electric Quadrant. NAESB representatives participate in NERC technical committees and regularly attend meetings of the Member Representatives Committee and Board of Trustees.
5. NERC and NAESB use a joint coordination procedure to ensure tight integration of their respective standards development processes where reliability and commercial needs are closely related. Some examples where such coordination has been required are electronic tagging, transmission loading relief (TLR) procedures, and determination of available transfer capability. This coordination includes joint meetings, inter-organizational reviews of standards and comments, and often jointly developed filings.
6. E-Tags, also known as Requests for Interchange, are used to schedule interchange transactions
7. Currently, the Commission and its staff do not have access to the complete e-Tags used for interchange transactions. We believe that access to this information would enhance the Commission staff's efforts to monitor market developments and prevent market manipulation, assure just and reasonable rates, and in monitoring compliance with certain NAESB business practice standards.
8. Accordingly, in this NOPR, the Commission proposes to require the Commission-certified ERO to make available to Commission staff on an ongoing, non-public basis the complete e-Tags used to schedule the transmission of electric power in wholesale markets. In addition, while not specifically proposed in this NOPR, the Commission is inviting comments on whether the Commission should require that complete e-Tags be made available to entities involved in market monitoring of RTOs and ISOs. Commenters should consider this broader availability option as within the scope of options being considered in this rulemaking.
9. In this NOPR, the Commission proposes to require the ERO to provide Commission staff with access to the e-Tags used to schedule interchange transactions in wholesale markets on a non-public basis. Under the FPA, the Commission has authority over public utilities that make wholesale power sales or that provide wholesale transmission service to report the details of their transactions, including complete e-Tag data. Additionally, under § 307(a) of the FPA, the Commission has, among its powers, authority to investigate any facts, conditions, practices, or matters it may deem necessary or proper to determine whether any person, electric utility, transmitting utility or other entity may have violated or might violate the FPA or the Commission's regulations, or to aid in the enforcement of the FPA or the Commission regulations, or to obtain information about wholesale power sales or the transmission of power in interstate commerce.
10. The Commission proposes to require the ERO (NERC) rather than individual market participants to provide access to the e-Tag data to avoid burdening market participants with a requirement to file the same data with both NERC and the Commission. In addition, obtaining access from one entity (
11. E-Tagging was first implemented by NERC on September 22, 1999, as a process to improve the speed and efficiency of the tagging process, which had previously been accomplished by e-mail, facsimile, and telephone exchanges.
12. Communication, submission, assessment, and approval of an e-Tag must be completed before the interchange transaction is implemented.
13. Two early cases addressed the issue of whether public utilities would need to comply with NERC's e-Tag requirements as a precondition to making wholesale power sales.
14. In another early order involving e-Tags,
15. We believe that obtaining access to complete e-Tag data will help the Commission to detect anti-competitive or manipulative behavior or ineffective market rules, monitor the efficiency of the markets, and better inform Commission policies and decision-making. Thus, the Commission proposes to require the ERO to provide access to complete e-Tag data on a non-public basis to Commission staff. For example, by using e-Tag data, in coordination with other resources,
16. In light of the various Commission uses for e-Tag data, we propose to locate this requirement within § 366.2 of our regulations, which governs Commission access to books and records. Thus, we propose to revise § 366.2 of our regulations to redesignate the current paragraph (d) as paragraph (e), and to add a new paragraph (d) establishing a formal requirement for the ERO to make this information available on an ongoing basis to the Commission's Staff. By establishing this requirement as part of § 366.2, it is clear that, under the newly designated paragraph (e), the information would be kept confidential and would not be made publicly available, except as directed by the Commission, or a court with appropriate jurisdiction.
Unlike the public availability of e-Tag “ID” information proposed in Docket No. RM10-12-000, in the instant proceeding in Docket No. RM11-12-000, the Commission is proposing to keep all other (“non-ID”) e-Tag data non-public. We note that persons could file a request to obtain such data through a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Commission, however, is of the view that these data would be covered by exemption 4 of FOIA, which protects “trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person [that is] privileged or confidential.” 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4) (2006),
17. Currently, the access of market monitoring units (MMUs) for RTOs and ISOs to e-Tag data is often limited to schedules with contract paths in the market that the MMU is tasked with monitoring.
18. Accordingly, the Commission invites comment on whether this information should be made available to MMUs. If so, should the data be provided to MMUs on a real-time basis? The Commission also invites comment on whether making the data available to MMUs would raise confidentiality issues or require specific confidentiality provisions. For example, should such entities sign a confidentiality agreement in order to access the information? In addition, the Commission invites comment on what would be the benefit(s) or drawback(s) to the Commission obtaining this information from individual market participants rather than NERC.
19. The following collection of information contained in this proposed rule is being submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review under section 3507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3507(d). The Commission solicits comments on the Commission's need for this information, whether the information will have practical utility, the accuracy of the provided burden estimate, ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and any suggested methods for minimizing respondents' burden, including the use of automated information techniques. Respondents subject to the filing requirements of this rule will not be penalized for failing to respond to this collection of information unless the collections of information display a valid OMB Control number.
20. The proposed rule makes information available to Commission staff, but does not require, as part of the proposals in this NOPR, that NERC collect any new information, repackage the information into any kind of report, or make any computations or adjustments to the raw information. This being the case, the Commission estimates that the reporting burden
Reporting = 7 hours.
Total Annualized Cost = $840 (7 hours @ $120/hr
21. OMB regulations
22. The information collection requirements of this proposed rule are based on NERC reviewing the documents in this proceeding and providing permission for Commission staff to access to the complete e-Tag data reported to NERC.
24. Interested persons may obtain information on the reporting requirements by contacting the following: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Attn: Ellen Brown, Information Collection Officer, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426. E-mail:
25. Comments concerning the information collections proposed in this NOPR and the associated burden estimates, should be sent to the Commission in this docket and may also be sent to the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503 [Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission]. For security reasons, comments should be sent by e-mail to OMB at the following e-mail address:
26. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.
27. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA)
• Provides electricity to 334 million people
• Has a total electricity demand of 830 gigawatts (830,000 megawatts)
• Has 211,000 miles or 340,000 km of high-voltage transmission line (230,000 volts and greater)
• Represents more than $1 trillion (U.S.) worth of assets.”
We also note that, in
28. The Commission has followed the provisions of the RFA concerning potential impact on small business and
29. The Commission invites interested persons to submit comments on the matters and issues proposed in this notice to be adopted, including any related matters or alternative proposals that commenters may wish to discuss. Comments are due June 27, 2011. Comments must refer to Docket No. RM11-12-000, and must include the commenter's name, the organization they represent, if applicable, and their address.
30. The Commission encourages commenters to file electronically via the eFiling link on the Commission's Web site at
31. Commenters unable to file comments electronically must mail or hand deliver an original copys of their comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC, 20426. These requirements can be found on the Commission's Web site,
32. All comments will be placed in the Commission's public files and may be viewed, printed, or downloaded remotely as described in the Document Availability section below. Commenters on this proposal are not required to serve copies of their comments on other commenters.
33. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the
34. From FERC's Home Page on the Internet, this information is available in the eLibrary. The full text of this document is available in the eLibrary both in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, printing, and/or downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type the docket number excluding the last three digits of this document in the docket number field.
35. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the FERC's Web site during our normal business hours. For assistance contact FERC Online Support at
Electric power, and Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.
By direction of the Commission.
In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission proposes to revise Chapter I, Title 18, part 366 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:
1. The authority citation for part 366 continues to read as follows:
15 U.S.C. 717
2. In § 366.2, redesignate paragraph (d) as paragraph (e) and add a new paragraph (d) to read as follows: