On November 10, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) scheduled a technical conference regarding its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) on the collection of “Connected Entity” data from regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs),1 which it issued on September 17, 2015.2  FERC directed its staff to convene the technical conference on December 8, 2015, and postponed the deadline for comments on the NOPR from November 30, 2015, until January 22, 2016, 45 days after the technical conference.

As we reported earlier, FERC proposed in the NOPR to amend its regulations to require each RTO and ISO to electronically deliver to FERC, on an ongoing basis, data required from its market participants that would:  (i) identify the market participants by means of a common alpha-numeric identifier; (ii) list their “Connected Entities,” including “entities that have certain ownership, employment, debt, or contractual relationships to the market participants,” as specified in the NOPR; and (iii) describe in brief the nature of the relationship of each Connected Entity.  FERC asserted in the NOPR that such information “is being sought to assist the Commission in its screening and investigative efforts to detect market manipulation, an enforcement priority” of the agency.

Among other things, the parties that requested the technical conference and extension of the comment period—whose motion garnered support from numerous market participants and trade groups—argued that the proposed rule “would create significant new reporting obligations for both market participants and market administrators alike,” which “would require gathering substantial information from entities that do not currently participate in a Commission-jurisdictional market and that are not otherwise subject to the Commission’s jurisdiction.”3  A technical conference, the requesting parties argued, would provide such entities an “opportunity to better understand key aspects of the proposed regulations and, ultimately, facilitate the submission of more meaningful comments.”  In the November 10 order, FERC noted that it agrees that “a technical conference would be useful in understanding industry concerns and the extent of the burdens that would be imposed upon market participants” under the proposed rule.