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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Form No. 561

Updated: 02/22/2013


1. What is the filing deadline for the Form No. 561?

Filings are due on or prior to April 30th for the previous calendar year.

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2. Why is the Form No. 561 data collected?

The Commission uses this data collection to determine whether public or private interests will be adversely affected by the holding of these positions. The data is collected to monitor what positions electric industry officers and directors hold in organizations that do business with each other. This information allows the Commission to monitor and assess the possibility of an officer or director having a conflict of interest which harms public or private interests.

For example, an officer holding a board position in a utility as well as on the board of his or her utility's principle supplier of generation equipment will not be able to act in an unbiased way because of the personal benefits that accrue from holding the two positions. This operating bias would harm the ability of another generation equipment supplier to compete for the equipment business of the director's utility. The annual report allows the Commission to make sure that no officer or director of any public utility receives for their own benefit any money or anything else of value in regard to similar negotiations between and among businesses.

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3. Who is responsible for filing the Form No. 561?

Public utility officers/directors who held interlocked positions during any part of the previous calendar year are responsible for filing the Form No. 561.

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4. How, where and when do I get an ID docket number?

Each officer/director receives an ID docket number when he/she applies with the Commission under 18 CFR Part 45, Application for Authority to Hold Interlocking Positions. Commission approval must be granted prior to holding most interlocking positions. Not all interlocking positions require an application under the Part 45 regulations therefore, not all officers and directors will have ID docket numbers to enter on their Form No. 561. Send any questions about Part 45 applications to mary.lafave@ferc.gov

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5. If an officer or director resigned during the year does he or she still have to file a Form No. 561?

Yes, a Form No. 561 is required of the officer or director who held the interlocked position during any part of the previous calendar year even if he/she did not hold it at the close of the year.

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6. Why am I not able to enter data in the Excel spreadsheet cells outside of the area covered by the Form No. 561?

Commission staff enabled a protection feature in the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to not allow data entry in this area. Without this sheet protection, there may be data corruption and unnecessary data processing work.

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7. What are those red triangles in various cells throughout the spreadsheet?

A red triangle in the upper right-hand corner of any cell indicates that there is additional information pertinent to that cell in the form of a comment. To see the comment, position your mouse pointer over the cell with the red triangle. The comment then appears in a "bubble" to the right of that cell. The comment will disappear when you remove your mouse from that cell.

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8. What happens if I file in the Adobe PDF format?

Commission staff will contact you to assist you in refiling in Microsoft Excel. At this time we encourage filing only in the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet provided. If you have circumstances preventing you from filing in this format, please send an email to form561@ferc.gov.

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9. What do I do if the 'Add Row' button in the Excel spreadsheet doesn't work?

First, please make sure you have saved the form to your computer. Second, enable the 'macros' within the Microsoft Excel application as follows:
  1. Click on "Tools" in the Excel toolbar
  2. From the drop-down list that appears, select "Macro"
  3. Select "Security" from the next drop-down (if you do not see "Security" listed, position your cursor over the arrow at the bottom of the list to expand the list; security should then be visible)
  4. Click on the "Security Level" tab and choose the "Low" or "Medium" setting
  5. Save your worksheet.

In addition, you may need to unprotect individual Form No. 561 Excel worksheets downloaded from the FERC website in order to add and delete rows. To Unprotect a worksheet, follow the steps below for the version of Microsoft Excel with which you are working.

If you are using Microsoft Excel 2010:
  1. Select the "Home" tab
  2. Click on the arrow below the "Format" icon (usually to the right on your "Home" toolbar)
  3. In the dropdown select "Unprotect Sheet."

If you are using any Microsoft Excel version older than 2010:
  1. Select "Tools,"
  2. Go to "Protection" in the dropdown,
  3. Choose "Unprotect Sheet."

If you have any questions, please send them to form561@ferc.gov.

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10. What happens if I file a Form No. 561 with an expired OMB authorization date?

You will be asked to re-file if you use a form with an expired OMB authorization date. OMB requires the use forms with valid OMB authorization. The form you submit should display the current authorization date. If you file a form with an expired OMB authorization date, you will be asked to re-file.

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11. Has the form been changed in any way since last year?

The information requested has not changed.

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12. I am a director of a company that supplies electrical equipment to several public utilities. I also file a Form No. 561 to report an interlocking position I hold as director of a public utility. However, I do not supply my company's electrical equipment to the utility with which I am interlocked. On my Form No. 561, do I need to provide the aggregate sales revenue for sales made to the utilities with which I am not interlocked?

No, because your electrical equipment company does not supply electrical equipment to the utility with which you are interlocked. The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), 18 CFR 46.5 states:
    If the interlock is between a public utility and an entity described in Sec. 46.5(c), which produces or supplies electrical equipment for use of such public utility, such person shall provide the following information:
(1) The aggregate amount of revenues received by such entity from producing or supplying electrical equipment to such public utility in the calendar year specified in paragraph (d) of this section, rounded up to the nearest $100,000; and
(2)The nature of the business relationship between such public utility and such entity.

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13. If I have interlocking positions and the utility for which I am an officer or director has market-base rate sales authority, do I still have to file a Form No. 561?

Yes. You are still required under 18 CFR 46.4 to file Form No. 561.

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14. Have the rules and regulations for FERC Form No. 561 changed since I last filed in 2012?

No, they have not changed. The Form No. 561 filing requirements are the same as they were last year.

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15. Why do the filings for 2012 state, "2011 Electronic Files Submitted"?

All filings provide information covering the previous calendar year so filings received at the Commission as of April 30, 2012 contain calendar year 2011 information.

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16. How would I enter multiple position codes for the same public utility?

The electronic Form No. 561 only allows selection of one position code per person per public utility. The Form was designed this way in order to better extract the data for analyses. In order to account for an individual who held multiple positions at the same public utility, click the "add row" button and list the positions as follows.

Acme Electric Company DIR
Acme Electric Company PRES
Acme Electric Company CEO

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17. If I am submitting the Form on someone else's behalf, should I "sign" on that person's behalf?

A utility representative may e-File Form No. 561 on behalf of others. The electronic registration process the representative goes through when filing, serves as the respondent's electronic signature. However, that representative should retain original Form No. 561 signed by each officer and director for whom they filed.

The hardcopy retained by the representative and or mailed to the Commission in hardcopy must be signed by the officer or director unless there is some compelling reason why he/she cannot sign, e.g. retired from all positions and whereabouts not known, etc.. If the hardcopy is not signed, the reason for the missing signature must be selected from the signature drop-down and included in the electronic filing.

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18. If an officer or director resigned during the year, does he/she need to file a Form No. 561? How is this related to a Notice of Change (NOC)?

Yes, a Form No. 561 is required of the officer or director who holds an interlocking position during any part of the previous calendar year even if he/she did not hold it at the close of the year. If a utility representative normally files on behalf of the retired officer/director and the whereabouts of the retiree have become unknown, the representative should prepare an unsigned form and select the appropriate reason in the signature block drop-down provided in the electronic Excel Form No. 561. The representative must further explain the circumstances of the missing signature in the cover letter.

Additionally, the representative may need to submit a Notice-of-Change. This falls under a different set of regulations from those related to the Form No. 561. A Notice of Change is a supplemental filing that informs the Commission of an applicant's resignation, withdrawal, or failure of reelection or appointment, or of any material change. The applicant must submit this notice within 30 days after such a change occurs. See Part 45.4 of the Commission's regulations for further information. Send questions regarding Notices of Change to: mary.lafave@ferc.gov.

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19. If I am NOT mailing a hard-copy form to the Commission, but eFiling instead, how do I sign the form?

Your registration in e-Filing satisfies the signature requirement. However you should keep an original signed form.

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20. Is it permitted to add notes to my filing through the use of the Excel comments feature? If so, how should I do that?

No, please include any data not specifically requested in the form in a cover letter.

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21. How can I locate an officer/director's ID docket number?

Follow these steps to locate an officer/director's ID docket number:
  1. Go to www.ferc.gov
  2. Click on the eLibrary link near the top of the page
  3. Click on "General Search"
  4. Under "Date Range" click "All"
  5. In the "Docket Number" block type "ID"
  6. In the "Text Search" box, type the officer's first and last name.
  7. Click "Search"

All the filings made by/for that officer will appear. Open filings to find the officer's ID docket number.

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22. 18 CFR 131.31 code and name states: "CNEN Entity which is controlled by any one of the above named entities." Does the word "above" refer to the entities listed in the Public Utility Data section of the form?

No, it refers to all of the entities referenced on the form. Use the regulations in 18 CFR 46.5 Covered entities (f) as your guide for what you should report. That section states: "Any entity which is controlled by any entity referred to in this section."

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23. Are covered positions held with qualifying small power production facilities (QFs) required to be reported on the Form No. 561?

Yes, see 18 CFR 292.601(c)(4).

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24. Why would I receive an error message such as: "compile error: method or data member not found."

This error might occur in an operating system other than Windows. We suggest you use Windows to avoid this and other possible operating system-related errors.

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25. If I find that I've made an error in a Form No. 561 that I've previously filed, what should I do?

Refile using the corrected document.

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26. If I find that FERC has made an error in docketing or in eLibrary, what should I do?

Let FERC staff know via an email to form561@ferc.gov. They will provide assistance on a case-by-case basis.

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27. Regarding the CNEN code, how many levels and what type of corporate control does this code apply to?

If an officer at a jurisdictional utility holds an executive-type position in a company controlled by the utility, which in turn controls a second company with which the officer holds an executive position, then he/she would have to report that position. In addition, the regulation is clear that it does not just involve entities controlled by the public utility. The regulation says "Entities to which the general rule applies are . . . Any entity which is controlled by any entity referred to in this section." ( 46.5(f)). Conversely, if the officer does not hold positions with those companies, then he would not have to report them as CNEN.

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28. Are officers and directors required to report their executive positions with foreign companies?

The regulations do not limit reporting to U.S. companies only. We encourage filers to report their executive positions with foreign companies on the Form 561, Interlocking Entity Data section.

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Updated: February 22, 2013