February 20, 2014, the staff of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a No-Action letter temporarily removing a regulatory barrier to Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) planned March 1, 2014 launch of its Integrated Marketplace.

The No-Action letter is a stop-gap measure that will expire on the earlier of August 31, 2014 or when the CFTC issues its final order on SPP’s application for exemption from full CFTC regulation. Last year, the CFTC issued an order permanently granting similar requests for exemption from other organized wholesale electric markets. The No-Action letter states that Market Participants in the Integrated Marketplace must qualify in any one of three categories (including being in the electric energy business) and the transactions must fall into specified categories in order to be eligible for the reduced regulatory burden. The No-Action letter states that these conditions are identical to the conditions in the order issued last year.

In both the No-Action letter and the prior order, the CFTC explicitly retained jurisdiction to police market fraud and manipulation relating to the organized markets.