[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 128 (Tuesday, July 3, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 39447-39452]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-15734]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

18 CFR Part 35


Revisions to Electric Quarterly Report Filing Process

AGENCY: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE.

ACTION: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) proposes 
to amend a Rule which governs the filing of Electric Quarterly Reports 
(EQRs), to change the process for filing EQRs. Currently, EQRs are 
filed by downloading EQR software from the Commission's Web site, 
installing it on the filer's Microsoft Windows-based computer, entering 
the EQR data into the software, and then submitting the EQR data to the 
Commission. The EQR software is designed in Microsoft Visual FoxPro. 
Technological changes and limitations will render the current filing 
process outmoded, ineffective, and unsustainable. Microsoft has 
discontinued Visual FoxPro and will not support the software after 
2015. Visual FoxPro also is constrained by data size limitations that 
will soon restrict the Commission's ability to add data fields in the 
EQR. Therefore, the Commission proposes a new filing system that will 
provide EQR filers with two new options for filing EQRs.
    One option would allow an EQR filer to use a web interface on the 
Commission's Web site to file its EQR. This web interface would look 
and operate like the current EQR software that uses Visual FoxPro. 
However, an EQR filer would not need to download and install software 
from the Commission's Web site to file because the data would be filed 
directly with the Commission through the web interface. The other 
option would allow an EQR filer to file its EQR in an Extensible Mark-
Up Language (XML) format via the Commission's Web site. By proposing a 
process with two options for filing

[[Page 39448]]

EQRs, the Commission seeks to provide the flexibility needed to 
accommodate EQR filers' technical preferences. Under both options, the 
Commission proposes to require EQR filers to use the company 
identification number (Company Identifier) assigned through the 
Commission's Company Registration System, which was developed for the 
Commission's eTariff system. The Company Identifier would replace the 
personal identification numbers that are currently used and that are 
unique to the existing EQR filing process. The Commission also proposes 
that implementation of any changes to the process for filing EQRs will 
apply to EQR filings beginning with the third quarter 2013 EQR, 
providing data for July through September 2013.
    The Commission will convene a staff-led public conference on 
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 to demonstrate the two new options for filing 
EQRs to industry participants and assist participants in preparing 
their comments to this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

DATES: Comments are due September 4, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Comments, identified by docket number, may be filed in the 
following ways:
     Electronic Filing through http://www.ferc.gov. Documents 
created electronically using word processing software should be filed 
in native applications or print-to-PDF format and not in a scanned 
format.
     Mail/Hand Delivery: Those unable to file electronically 
may mail or hand-deliver comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., 
Washington, DC 20426.
    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Comment 
Procedures Section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Connie Caldwell, Office of 
Enforcement, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street 
NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-6208, Connie.Caldwell@ferc.gov.
    Christina Switzer, Office of General Counsel, Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, 
(202) 502-6379, Christina.Switzer@ferc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

[Docket No. RM12-3-000]

June 21, 2012.
    1. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) proposes 
changes to the method for filing Electric Quarterly Reports (EQRs). Due 
to technological changes that will render the current filing process 
outmoded, ineffective, and unsustainable, the Commission proposes to 
discontinue the use of Commission software to file an EQR. Instead, the 
Commission proposes to allow an EQR filer to file EQR data directly 
through the Commission's Web site, either through a web interface or by 
submitting an Extensible Mark-Up Language (XML)-formatted \1\ file. The 
Commission also proposes to require the EQR filer to identify itself 
with a company identification number (Company Identifier) rather than 
the existing software-based EQR identifiers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ XML is a set of standards for describing and communicating 
data.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

I. Background

    2. Prior to the issuance of Order No. 2001,\2\ the Commission 
required public utilities to file in paper format all short-term and 
long-term service agreements for market-based sales of electric energy 
and service agreements for generally applicable services (such as 
point-to-point transmission service), in Quarterly Transaction Reports. 
In Order No. 2001, the Commission replaced the paper filing requirement 
with an electronic filing requirement. The Commission stated that the 
purpose of the EQR filing requirements is to:
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\  Revised Public Utility Filing Requirements, Order No. 2001, 
67 FR 31043 (May 8, 2002), FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 31,127, reh'g 
denied, Order No. 2001-A, 100 FERC ] 61,074, reh'g denied, Order No. 
2001-B, 100 FERC ] 61,342, order directing filing, Order No. 2001-C, 
101 FERC ] 61,314 (2002), order directing filing, Order No. 2001-D, 
102 FERC ] 61,334, order refining filing requirements, Order No. 
2001-E, 105 FERC ] 61,352 (2003), order on clarification, Order No. 
2001-F, 106 FERC ] 61,060 (2004), order revising filing 
requirements, Order No. 2001-G, 72 FR 56735 (Oct. 4, 2007), 120 FERC 
] 61,270, order on reh'g and clarification, Order No. 2001-H, 73 FR 
1876 (Jan. 10, 2008), 121 FERC ] 61,289 (2007), order revising 
filing requirements, Order No. 2001-I, 73 FR 65526 (Nov. 4, 2008), 
FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 32,282 (2008).

make available for public inspection, in a convenient form and place 
all relevant information relating to public utility rates, terms, 
and conditions of service; ensure that information is available in a 
standardized, user friendly format; and meet the Commission's 
electronic filing option obligation. [Footnote omitted.] These 
actions also will allow the public to better participate in and 
obtain the full benefits of wholesale electric power markets while 
minimizing the reporting burden on public utilities.\3\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \3\ Order No. 2001, FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 31,127 at 30,116.

    In addition, the Commission noted that the EQR allows public 
utilities to better fulfill their responsibility under section 205(c) 
of the Federal Power Act (FPA) to have rates on file in a convenient 
form and place.\4\ An EQR file must include, for the most recent 
calendar quarter: (1) a summary of the terms and conditions in all 
agreements to provide jurisdictional services (including market-based 
and cost-based power sales, as well as transmission service); and (2) 
transaction information for all short-term and long-term market-based 
and cost-based power sales.\5\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \4\ 16 U.S.C. 824d(c).
    \5\ Since the Commission issued Order No. 2001, it has refined 
and clarified the EQR filing requirements in response to changes in 
the industry and the Commission's rules and regulations. For 
example, the Commission has required EQR filers to report all 
transmission capacity reassignments and proposed to revise the EQR 
Data Dictionary to add ``Simultaneous Exchange'' to the list of 
available product names. See Preventing Undue Discrimination and 
Preference in Transmission Service, Order No. 890, 72 FR 12266 (Mar. 
15, 2007), FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 31,241, at P 817, order on reh'g, 
Order No. 890-A, 73 FR 2984 (Jan. 16, 2008), FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 
31,261 (2007), order on reh'g and clarification, Order No. 890-B, 73 
FR 39092 (July 8, 2008), 123 FERC ] 61,299 (2008), order on reh'g, 
Order No. 890-C, 74 FR 12540 (Mar. 25, 2009),126 FERC ] 61,228 
(2009), order on clarification, Order No. 890-D, 74 FR 61511 (Nov. 
25, 2009), 129 FERC ] 61,126 (2009); Revised Public Utility Filing 
Requirements for Electric Quarterly Reports, Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking, 77 FR 16494 (Mar. 21, 2012), FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 
32,687 (2012). The Commission has also proposed new filing 
requirements for all EQR filers and extending the EQR filing 
requirements to non-public utilities above a de minimis market 
presence threshold. Electricity Market Transparency Provisions of 
Section 220 of the Federal Power Act, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 
76 FR 24188 (Apr. 29, 2011), FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 32,676 (2011).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    3. In Order No. 2001, the Commission promulgated 18 CFR 35.10b 
(2011), which reads, in pertinent part: ``* * * Electric Quarterly 
Reports must be prepared in conformance with the Commission's software 
and guidance posted and available for downloading from the FERC Web 
site (http://www.ferc.gov).'' \6\ Consistent with this portion of the 
regulation, the Commission's Web site provides public utilities with 
software and guidance for filing an EQR.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \6\ 18 CFR 35.10b.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

II. Discussion

    4. Pursuant to section 35.10b of the Commission's Regulations,\7\ 
EQR filers must first download the EQR software application that is 
available on the Commission's Web site. The EQR software application 
was built with Visual FoxPro development tools and must be installed on 
a Windows-based computer. This software has certain disadvantages. 
Microsoft, the Visual FoxPro vendor, announced in 2007 that it would no 
longer sell or issue new versions of Visual FoxPro and would provide 
support for it only through 2015. Also, over time, the Commission

[[Page 39449]]

has found that it is difficult to maintain quarterly transactions in a 
single table in the face of changes in the Commission's jurisdictional 
markets because Visual FoxPro does not allow data tables to exceed two 
gigabytes. These data size limitations will soon restrict the 
Commission's ability to add data fields in the EQR. These limitations 
make the EQR software application outmoded, ineffective, and 
unsustainable.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \7\ 18 CFR 35.10b.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    5. To ensure an ongoing, reliable mechanism for filing EQR data, 
the Commission proposes to replace the Visual FoxPro-based EQR software 
with two new filing options. The Commission recognizes the need to 
facilitate a smooth transition to these new filing options. In 
addition, on July 11, 2011, the President issued Executive Order 13579, 
requesting that independent agencies issue public plans for periodic 
retrospective analysis of existing regulations.\8\ Retrospective 
analysis should identify regulations that may be outmoded, ineffective, 
insufficient, or excessively burdensome and to modify, streamline, 
expand, or repeal them in order to achieve the agency's regulatory 
objective. The Commission believes that the changes proposed in this 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) support the goals of this 
Executive Order by modifying a filing process that has become outmoded, 
ineffective and unsustainable.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \8\ Regulation and Independent Regulatory Agencies, Exec. Order 
13579, 76 FR 41587 (2011).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    6. Under the proposed process, the first new filing option that the 
Commission proposes builds upon the automated systems that EQR filers 
have developed to enter data into the current EQR software. The EQR 
software application allows EQR filers to enter quarterly data by hand 
or by importing the data in comma-delimited text files. EQR filers have 
built automated systems to generate the comma-delimited text files. 
Therefore, the Commission proposes to offer a web interface on the 
Commission's Web site that allows EQR filers to continue to enter data 
in the comma-delimited text format but without the need to download 
software. This option would minimize the changes for an EQR filer and 
streamline the filing process by eliminating the need for filers to 
enter or import the data into a software application. The proposed web 
interface will be device-independent; therefore, this method would 
eliminate the need for the EQR filer to use a Windows-based computer.
    7. Under the proposed new filing process, EQR filers can elect a 
second option if they prefer, which allows them to file EQR data via 
XML-formatted files. This proposed method has various advantages. An 
XML schema includes rules and data checks that are unavailable in a 
comma-delimited file. For example, an EQR filer using XML would be able 
to tag each data element to ensure that it reaches the Commission with 
an accurate description; a comma-delimited file does not provide that 
assurance. Therefore, this proposed filing option allows EQR filers to 
test the consistency of their data with the Commission's filing 
standards, improving the ability to comply with the EQR filing 
requirement and increasing confidence that the Commission receives the 
intended information. However, as discussed above, use of the XML 
format is optional, and filers are free to choose to file via the web-
based interface option.
    8. The Commission also proposes to change the manner in which an 
EQR filer is identified. In the current EQR software, an EQR filer 
applies for a ``PIN'' number when it first contacts the Commission 
about filing an EQR. To receive a PIN number, a representative of the 
filer must confirm via email that the request is made via the EQR 
filer's email address. Once it receives the PIN number, the EQR filer 
identifies itself in its filing by ``retrieving'' its listing, 
downloading the applicable files (including past filings), and entering 
the ``PIN'' number when ready to submit the filing to the Commission. 
This PIN number system is part of the EQR software application. 
Therefore, as part of the transition away from this software 
application, the Commission must provide a new manner to identify EQR 
filers.
    9. To assure consistency and the ability to cross-reference 
Commission filings, the Commission proposes to replace the PIN number 
identification system with the Company Registration System used for 
eTariff filings. As part of the development of the eTariff system,\9\ 
the Commission directed each publicly regulated company to file its 
tariffs, rate schedules, jurisdictional contracts, and other 
jurisdictional agreements with a ``Company Identifier.'' The Commission 
developed a registration system to permit a publicly regulated company 
to request a Company Identifier, modify information associated with an 
existing Company Identifier, and request a new password.'' \10\ The 
data is used by the Commission to identify the company making a tariff 
filing, to notify the publicly regulated company that a filing has been 
made in its name, and to create a list of publicly regulated companies. 
The Commission proposes to require EQR filers to use these Company 
Identifiers to identify themselves.\11\ Because the publicly regulated 
companies that file their Commission-jurisdictional tariffs and 
agreements have Company Identifiers, the Commission does not anticipate 
that the use of a Company Identifier in the EQR filing process will 
create an undue burden for these companies. Rather, it provides 
publicly regulated companies that file an EQR a consistent and, 
therefore, more controllable method to demonstrate that it is the 
appropriate EQR filer. We also anticipate that the use of the Company 
Identifier will not be unduly burdensome for an EQR filer that does not 
have an existing Company Identifier because the registration process on 
the Commission's Web site is straightforward and no more difficult than 
the current filer identification process.\12\ The use of the Company 
Identifier for EQR filings will allow the Commission to make filer 
identification consistent across all Commission filings.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \9\ Electronic Tariff Filings, Order No. 714, 73 FR 57515 (Oct. 
3, 2008), FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 31,276 (2008).
    \10\ See Implementation Guide for Electronic Filing of Parts 35, 
154, 284, 300, and 341 Tariff Filings (Jan. 23, 2012 version), 
available at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/company-reg.asp.
    \11\ The Commission recognizes that there are instances when a 
company uses an agent to file on its behalf. If the Commission 
adopts the proposal to require EQR filers to identify themselves 
using the Company Identifier system, then the Commission proposes to 
ensure that the new filing process continues to allow an agent to 
file on behalf of a company.
    \12\ Id.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    10. The Commission will convene a staff-led public conference on 
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 to demonstrate the two new options for filing 
EQRs to industry participants. The demonstration will assist 
participants in preparing their comments to this NOPR. The conference 
will be available by webcast.
    11. The Commission also proposes that implementation of any changes 
to the process for filing EQRs will apply to EQR filings beginning with 
the third quarter (Q3) 2013 EQR, providing data for July through 
September 2013. Implementing the changes within that time period should 
provide EQR filers with sufficient time to weigh the two options and 
file their Q3 2013 report in a timely manner.

III. Information Collection Statement

    12. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations require

[[Page 39450]]

approval of certain information collection requirements imposed by 
agency rules.\13\ Upon approval of a collection(s) of information, OMB 
will assign an OMB control number and an expiration date. Respondents 
subject to the filing requirements of an agency rule will not be 
penalized for failing to respond to these collections of information 
unless the collections of information display a valid OMB control 
number. The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) \14\ requires each federal 
agency to seek and obtain OMB approval before undertaking a collection 
of information directed to ten or more persons or contained in a rule 
of general applicability.\15\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \13\ 5 CFR 1320.8.
    \14\ 44 U.S.C. 3501-3520.
    \15\ OMB's regulations at 5 CFR 1320.3(c)(4)(i) require that 
``[a]ny recordkeeping, reporting, or disclosure requirement 
contained in a rule of general applicability is deemed to involve 
ten or more persons.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    13. The Commission is submitting these reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements to OMB for its review and approval under section 3507(d) 
of the PRA. The subject of this NOPR is FERC's proposed changes to the 
method for filing EQRs and how an EQR filer identifies itself. The 
Commission solicits comments on these modifications, the accuracy of 
burden estimates, ways to enhance quality, utility, and clarity of the 
information to be collected, and any suggested methods for minimizing 
respondents' burden
    14. The Commission's estimates of the average public reporting 
burden and cost related to the proposed rule in Docket RM12-3-000 
follow:

                                                     NOPR in RM12-3-000 on Electric Quarterly Report
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    Implementing (one-         Recurring operating burden per          Average annual
                                                                     time) burden per           respondent per response \16\             burden per
                                                                        respondent       ------------------------------------------      respondent
                                                     Number of   ------------------------                                              (implementation
                                     Number of     responses per                                                                     averaged over Years
                                    respondents   respondent per                                                                            1-3)
                                                       year         Burden     Cost ($)    Burden hours \17\         Cost ($)      ---------------------
                                                                    hours                                                             Burden
                                                                                                                                      hours     Cost ($)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Companies within non-California              405               4         20    $1,434.50  no change..........  no change..........       6.67    $478.17
 RTO, and large cos. within Cal.
 RTO.
Medium/small companies within                 20               4         20     1,434.50  no change..........  no change..........       6.67     478.17
 Cal. RTO.
Companies not within RTO........             663               4         20     1,434.50  no change..........  no change..........       6.67     478.17
Companies with no transactions..             695               4         20     1,434.50  no change..........  no change..........       6.67     478.17
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \16\ The Commission expects no change or a slight decrease in 
the Recurring Operating Burden per Respondent per Response under the 
new filing system (when compared to quarterly filings under the 
existing system).
    \17\ For the existing EQR system, the Commission estimates the 
average burden per respondent per quarterly filing to be: 32 hours 
for Companies within non-California RTO, and large companies within 
the California RTO; 80 hours for medium/small Companies within the 
California RTO; 3 hours for Companies not within an RTO; and 0.083 
hours [5 minutes] for Companies with no transactions.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    15. The one-time implementation burden and cost for all 1,783 
respondents are 35,660 hours (1,783 x 20 hours), and $2,557,713.50 
(1,783 x $1,434.50). Averaging this one-time implementation burden and 
cost over Years 1-3 yields an annual total burden of 11,892.61 hours 
(1,783 x 6.67) and an annual total cost of $852,577.11 (1,783 x 
$478.17)
    16. The Commission recognizes that there will be an initial 
implementation burden associated with reviewing the instructions, 
revising the filing process, adding the agent to the respondent's 
eRegistration data, obtaining a Company Identifier, and filing EQR data 
through the new system. The Commission estimates a burden of 20 hours 
per respondent for the one-time implementation. To help with this 
initial implementation, the Commission will convene a staff-led 
technical conference to demonstrate the two new options for filing EQRs 
to industry participants. The conference will be available by webcast, 
which should minimize travel and other costs associated with 
participation in the conference. The Commission also proposes to direct 
staff to assist in transitioning to the new process. The demonstration 
and staff assistance should minimize the initial implementation burden.
    17. For the recurring effort involved in electronically submitting 
EQR data on a quarterly basis to the Commission, the Commission 
anticipates that there will be no change or a slight burden reduction, 
when compared to the burden of making quarterly filings under the 
current system. The Commission seeks comments on the burden estimates 
related to the recurring quarterly filings.
    Information Collection Costs: The Commission has estimated the cost 
of compliance per respondent to be $1,434.50, for one-time 
implementation of the changes proposed in this NOPR. The Commission has 
estimated the implementation cost as follows: \18\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \18\ Hourly average wage is an average and was calculated using 
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Occupational Employment Statistics 
data for May 2011 (for NAICS 221100--Electric Power Generation, 
Transmission and Distribution, at http://bls.gov/oes/current/naics4_221100.htm#00-0000) for the senior accountant, financial 
analyst, information technology analyst, and support staff. The 
average hourly figure for legal staff is a composite from BLS and 
other resources.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

     Legal staff (at $250/hour), for 2 hours, costing $500
     Senior accountant (at $51.38/hr.), financial analyst (at 
$68.12/hr.), and/or support staff (at $35.99/hr.), averaged at $51.83/
hr., for a total of 2 hours, costing $103.66
     Information technology analyst (at $57.24/hour), for 12 
hours, costing $686.88
     Support staff (at $35.99/hr), for 4 hours, costing 
$143.96.
    Title: FERC-516,\19\ Electric Rate Schedules and Tariff Filings.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \19\ The Commission plans to separate the EQR reporting 
requirements from the remaining reporting requirements under FERC-
516 (OMB Control No. 1902-0096). The Commission expects to move the 
EQR reporting requirements to the new FERC-920 (OMB Control No. 
1902-0255) at the final rule stage.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 39451]]

    Action: Proposed new EQR filing system and associated additional 
reporting requirements.
    Respondents: Electric utilities
    Frequency of Responses: Initial implementation and quarterly 
filings (beginning Q3 of 2013).
    Need for Information: The Commission proposes changes to the method 
for filing EQRs. The Commission proposes to replace a filing system 
that requires an EQR filer to download Commission software with a 
system that would allow an EQR filer to file EQR data directly through 
the Commission's Web site, either through a web interface or by 
submitting an XML-formatted file. The Commission also proposes to 
require the EQR filer to identify itself with a Company Identifier. The 
Company Identifiers would be assigned through the Commission's Company 
Registration System.
    Internal Review: The Commission has reviewed the proposed changes 
and has determined that the changes are necessary. These requirements 
conform to the Commission's need for efficient information collection, 
communication, and management within the energy industry. The 
Commission has assured itself, by means of internal review, that there 
is specific, objective support for the burden estimates associated with 
the information collection requirements.
    18. Interested persons may obtain information on the reporting 
requirements by contacting: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 
First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426 [Attention: Ellen Brown, Office 
of the Executive Director, email: DataClearance@ferc.gov, Phone: (202) 
502-8663, fax: (202) 273-0873]. Comments on the requirements of this 
rule may also be sent to the Office of Information and Regulatory 
Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, DC 20503 
[Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission]. 
For security reasons, comments should be sent by email to OMB at oira_submission@omb.eop.gov. Please reference OMB Control No. 1902-0096, 
FERC-516, and Docket No. RM12-3 in your submission.

IV. Environmental Analysis

    19. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may 
have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.\20\ The 
actions taken here fall within categorical exclusions in the 
Commission's regulations for information gathering, analysis, and 
dissemination.\21\ Therefore, an environmental assessment is 
unnecessary and has not been prepared in this rulemaking.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \20\ Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, Order No. 486, 52 FR 47897 (Dec. 17, 1987), FERC Stats. 
& Regs., Regulations Preambles 1986-1990 ] 30,783 (1987).
    \21\ 18 CFR 380.4(a)(5).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

V. Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    20. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) \22\ generally 
requires a description and analysis of proposed rules that will have 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The RFA mandates consideration of regulatory alternatives that 
accomplish the stated objectives of a proposed rule and that minimize 
any significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Size 
Standards develops the numerical definition of a small business.\23\ 
The SBA has established a size standard for electric utilities, stating 
that a firm is small if, including its affiliates, it is primarily 
engaged in the transmission, generation and/or distribution of electric 
energy for sale and its total electric output for the preceding twelve 
months did not exceed four million MWh.\24\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \22\ 5 U.S.C. 601-612.
    \23\ 13 CFR 121.101.
    \24\ 13 CFR 121.201, Sector 22, Utilities & n.1.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    21. Of the 1,783 filers,\25\ approximately 1,194 filers had total 
electric output for the preceding twelve months that did not exceed 
four million MWh. However, when combined with their affiliates, 414 of 
those 1,194 filers no longer meet the definition of ``small.'' The 
Commission estimates that the remaining 780 filers are ``small.''
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \25\ Of the 1,783 respondents, approximately 695 submit filings 
showing they had no transactions. The burden for these filings is 
minimal.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    22. To ease the burden of implementation for all filers, the 
Commission is minimizing the changes which respondents will experience 
and giving two options for filing (using either comma-separated values 
or XML). The estimated one-time implementation cost per respondent is 
$1,434.50.
    23. The Commission anticipates no change or a slight reduction in 
the burden for the recurring quarterly filings. In addition, small 
entities generally have few or no transactions and corresponding 
minimal recurring burden. Furthermore, we note that public utilities 
may request, on an individual basis, waiver from the EQR reporting 
requirements.\26\ Thus, the Commission certifies that this proposed 
rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of 
small entities.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \26\ The Commission has granted requests for waiver of the EQR 
filing requirements. See Bridger Valley Elect. Assoc., Inc., 101 
FERC ] 61,146 (2002). Entities with a waiver will continue to have a 
waiver and will not need to file a new request for waiver.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

VI. Comment Procedures

    24. The Commission invites interested persons to submit comments on 
the matters and issues proposed in this notice to be adopted, including 
any related matters or alternative proposals that commenters may wish 
to discuss. Comments are due September 4, 2012. Comments must refer to 
Docket No. RM12-3-000, and must include the commenter's name, the 
organization they represent, if applicable, and their address in their 
comments.
    25. The Commission encourages comments to be filed electronically 
via the eFiling link on the Commission's web site at http://www.ferc.gov. The Commission accepts most standard word processing 
formats. Documents created electronically using word processing 
software should be filed in native applications or print-to-PDF format 
and not in a scanned format. Commenters filing electronically do not 
need to make a paper filing.
    26. Commenters that are not able to file comments electronically 
must send an original of their comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., 
Washington, DC 20426.
    27. All comments will be placed in the Commission's public files 
and may be viewed, printed, or downloaded remotely as described in the 
Document Availability section below. Commenters on this proposal are 
not required to serve copies of their comments on other commenters.

VII. Document Availability

    28. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the 
Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an 
opportunity to view and/or print the contents of this document via the 
Internet through the Commission's Home Page (http://www.ferc.gov) and 
in the Commission's Public Reference Room during normal business hours 
(8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time) at 888 First Street, NE., Room 
2A, Washington, DC 20426.

[[Page 39452]]

    29. From the Commission's Home Page on the Internet, this 
information is available on eLibrary. The full text of this document is 
available on eLibrary in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, 
printing, and/or downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type 
the docket number excluding the last three digits of this document in 
the docket number field.
    30. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the Commission's 
Web site during normal business hours from the Commission's Online 
Support at 202-502-6652 (toll free at 1-866-208-3676) or email at 
ferconlinesupport@ferc.gov, or the Public Reference Room at (202) 502-
8371, TTY (202) 502-8659. Email the Public Reference Room at 
public.referenceroom@ferc.gov.

List of Subjects in 18 CFR Part 35

    Electric power rates, Electric utilities, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements.

    By direction of the Commission. Commissioner Clark voting 
present.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
Deputy Secretary.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission proposes to amend 
18 CFR part 35, Chapter I, Title 18,as follows:
    1. The authority citation for part 35 continues to read as follows:

    Authority. 16 U.S.C. 791a-825r, 2601-2645; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 42 
U.S.C. 7101-7352.

    2. Sec.  35.10b is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  35.10b  Electric Quarterly Reports.

    * * * Electric Quarterly Reports must be prepared in conformance 
with the Commission's guidance posted on the FERC Web site (http://www.ferc.gov) or as otherwise provided to the public.
[FR Doc. 2012-15734 Filed 7-2-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P