Enforcement Staff Guidance
There are several mechanisms available to those seeking to obtain guidance regarding compliance with Commission statutes, rules, regulations or orders or Commission-approved tariffs. Most guidance is provided through Commission orders, issued in response to pleadings subject to public review and comment. In addition, informal guidance can be provided through the Commissionís Compliance Help Desk and meetings and discussions with individual members of Commission staff. Further options to obtain guidance exist as well: No Action Letter responses, legal opinions issued by the Office of the General Counsel, and interpretative letters issued by the Chief Accountant. While not binding on the Commission, these advisory materials provide confirmation of staff positions that reflect various levels of staff consensus.
In addition, the Commission maintains an Enforcement Hotline where individuals and companies may report potential violations of the Commissionís regulations.
Through the No-Action Letter (NAL) process, established by Commission order on November 18, 2005, persons may obtain written advice as to whether staff would recommend that the Commission take no enforcement action with respect to specific proposed transactions, practices, or situations. Thus, NAL responses provide increased certainty regarding staff's view on whether a particular transaction, practice or situation would be subject to agency enforcement action. As a result, the NAL process is an effective tool for entities subject to our authority to reduce the risk of failing to comply with the statutes we administer, the orders, rules or regulations thereunder, or Commission-approved tariffs. Learn More
The Commission's Uniform Systems of Accounts provide that in order to maintain uniformity of accounting, regulated entities must submit questions of doubtful interpretations to the Commission for consideration and decision. The Commission and its Chief Accountant provide guidance to, and respond to inquiries from, regulated entities on the implementation of standards issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board and existing or emerging industry-wide or entity specific accounting issues within the context of the Uniform Systems of Accounts. Past guidance letters have addressed such issues as accounting for uncertainty in income taxes, accounting for the funded status of defined benefit postretirement plans, and the appropriate accounting treatment for earnings on use-restricted debt funds used for construction. The advice provided in guidance letters issued by the Chief Accountant represent the views of the Commission's accounting staff and serve as controlling accounting guidance for regulated entities unless or until superseded by rehearing or other Commission action. However, neither guidance letters issued by the Chief Accountant nor informal advice provided through discussions with the Chief Accountant are binding on the Commission and are not controlling precedent for ratemaking purposes.
Concerned About Potential Violations?
Individuals with knowledge of potential violations are an important source of information for the FERC enforcement program. The Enforcement Hotline invites market participants and the general public to call, email or write the Hotline to report market activities or transactions that may be market manipulation, fraud, an abuse of an affiliate relationship, a tariff violation, a violation of a Commission order, or other possible violation. Enforcement staff can receive information anonymously and protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers to the fullest extent possible. All information and documents obtained through the Hotline are non-public, consistent with 18 C.F.R. ß 1b.9 of the Commission's regulations. Learn More
Contact Hotline Staff Anonymously
Send us your concerns on an online form here.