FERC Pushes Ahead on Prevention of Market Abuse and Works to Increase Transparency in Energy Markets

            FERC issued a series of proposals and rules May 25 that will streamline and assist FERC in collecting various kinds of information, as well as a change to the calculation of that essential metric: available transfer capacity ("ATC") on the transmission grid.  FERC Chair Pat Wood expressed his belief that these orders would benefit both customers, by improving market transparency, and the electric industry, by ensuring that FERC's reporting requirements are "useful and necessary." 

Two of the issuances included two Notices of Inquiry ("NOI").  In Docket No. RM05-16, FERC issued a NOI seeking comments on the collection or retention of generator run-status information from all public utilities.  The information, which would include data on operating performance, capability of units, and commitment of generation, would be confidential, but FERC would use it to protect the market against withholding of generation or misrepresentation of capacity, by monitoring markets, investigating market abuses, and evaluating complaints.  The second NOI, issued in Docket No. RM05-17, sought comments on a revision to the calculation of ATC.  In it, FERC responded to a chorus of concerns that transmission providers generally are inconsistent and self-serving in current ATC calculations.  FERC referenced the North American Electric Reliability Council's ("NERC's") Long Term AFC/ATC Task Force Report and requested comments on the Report.  To be considered by the agency, public comments on both NOIs are due 60 days after each is published in the Federal Register.  [NEW MATTER]