On July 18, 2019, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued Order No. 860, a final administrative rule that changes information submission requirements for “Sellers” with market-based rate (“MBR”) authorization.  Notably, the rule establishes a “relational database” to collect from MBR Sellers information in a consolidated format, rendering the collected information more usable for data analytics and surveillance.  Order No. 860 also

  • Reduces ownership information that Sellers must provide as part of their MBR filings,
  • Changes the information required in a Seller’s asset appendix, as well as the format through which such information must be submitted,
  • Requires a Seller to update the relational database on a monthly basis to reflect any changes that have occurred, but extends the “change in status” filing requirement to a quarterly filing obligation, and
  • Eliminates the requirement for Sellers to submit corporate organizational charts.

Significantly, the final rule does not adopt a proposal to collect information from Sellers and entities trading virtual products or holding financial transmission rights about their legal and financial connections to other entities -- so-called Connected Entity Information.

Although the final rule will be effective October 1, 2020, Sellers’ initial submissions to the relational database will not be due until February 1, 2021.  Before those submissions are made, FERC will (1) post on its website a User Guide and a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the process for preparing and submitting information into the relational database, (2) make available a basic relational database test environment for submitters and software developers, and (3) conduct outreach with submitters and external software developers to facilitate feedback during the development/testing phase to fine-tune the relational database.

Commissioner McNamee did not participate in the voting on Order No. 860.  Commissioner Glick supported creation of the relational database, but issued a partial dissent because he disagreed with the majority’s decision not to require the submission of Connected Entity Information, which he believes will hinder FERC’s efforts to detect and deter manipulation.