[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 33 (Wednesday, February 19, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 9402-9404]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-03432]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

18 CFR Part 375

[Docket No. RM14-5-000; Order No. 795]


Delegation of Authority Regarding Consideration of Notice of 
Penalty

AGENCY:  Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, DOE.

ACTION:  Final rule.

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SUMMARY:  The Commission issues this Final Rule to revise its 
regulations to delegate authority to the Director of the Commission's 
Office of Electric Reliability to issue orders extending the period of 
time for consideration of Notices of Penalty filed by the Electric 
Reliability Organization. In addition, this Final Rule revises the 
Commission's regulations to remove the same authority, and certain 
related authority, that is currently delegated to the Director of the 
Commission's Office of Enforcement. These revisions are necessary to 
enable the Commission to process routine, non-controversial Notices of 
Penalty in a timely and efficient manner.

DATES: Effective Date: This Rule will become effective February 19, 
2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Matthew Vlissides, Office of the 
General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street 
NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8408, Matthew.Vlissides@ferc.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Before Commissioners: Cheryl A. LaFleur, Acting Chairman; Philip D. 
Moeller, John R. Norris, and Tony Clark.

Final Rule

(Issued February 11, 2014)

    1. The Commission issues this Final Rule to revise its delegations 
of authority to allow for the efficient and timely processing of 
Notices of Penalty (Notices) issued by the North American Electric 
Reliability Corporation (NERC), the Commission-certified Electric 
Reliability Organization (ERO). Specifically, this Final Rule delegates 
authority to the Director of the Office of Electric Reliability to 
issue orders extending the period of time for consideration of Notices 
filed by the ERO. This Final Rule removes the same authority currently 
delegated to the Director of the Office of Enforcement to extend the 
period of time to consider Notices. This Final Rule also removes the 
authority delegated to the Director of the Office of Enforcement to 
direct NERC or applicable Regional Entities to submit information when 
necessary to process Notices without the need for Commission action.

I. Background

    2. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 added section 215 to the Federal 
Power Act (FPA), which requires a Commission-certified Electric 
Reliability Organization to develop mandatory and enforceable 
Reliability Standards, subject to Commission review and approval.\1\ 
Pursuant to FPA section 215(e)(1), the ERO may impose a penalty on a 
user, owner or operator of the Bulk-Power System for a violation of a 
Reliability Standard approved by the Commission. Pursuant to FPA 
section 215(e)(4), the Commission authorized NERC, in its capacity as 
the ERO, to delegate authority to impose such penalties to eight 
Regional Entities through Commission-approved Delegation Agreements. 
Under FPA section 215(e), NERC must file each Notice with the 
Commission. The penalty is subject to Commission review upon its own 
motion or upon application by the entity subject to the proposed 
penalty within 30 days. If no review is sought or initiated, the 
penalty takes effect by operation of law.
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    \1\ 16 U.S.C. 824o.
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    3. In Order No. 728, the Commission determined that, in many cases 
involving the assessment of zero dollar penalties, Notices could be 
processed without a Commission vote.\2\ Previously, when the Commission 
received a Notice, it was analyzed within thirty days by staff from the 
Office of Enforcement, the Office of Electric Reliability, and the 
Office of General Counsel, who then recommended to the Commission 
whether the Notice should become

[[Page 9403]]

effective by operation of law. The Commission would conduct a vote and, 
if it decided that no further action was warranted, the Commission 
instructed the Secretary to issue a public notice to that effect. In 
Order No. 728, the Commission stated that, in proceedings involving 
non-controversial zero dollar penalties, a Notice could be processed 
more efficiently by allowing the Secretary, without a formal Commission 
vote, to issue a notice indicating that the Commission will take no 
further action.
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    \2\ Delegations for Notices of Penalty, Order No. 728, FERC 
Stats. & Regs. ] 31,298, at P 5 (2009) (cross-referenced at 129 FERC 
] 61,094 (2009)).
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    4. In Order No. 728, the Commission delegated authority to the 
Director of the Office of Enforcement to direct NERC or applicable 
Regional Entities to submit further information on a Notice where the 
Commission did not have sufficient information to reach a decision on 
the Notice. The Commission also delegated to the Director of the Office 
of Enforcement the authority to extend the period of time to consider 
Notices for the purpose of obtaining additional information from NERC 
and Regional Entities. Sections 375.311(u) and (v) of the Commission's 
regulations delegate these authorities to the Director of the Office of 
Enforcement. Order No. 728 also stated a policy that ``Notices will not 
need a formal Commission vote only in zero dollar penalty cases that do 
not raise significant concerns or other issues,'' and specified various 
types of issues that would still require a formal Commission vote.\3\
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    \3\ Order No. 728, FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 31,298 at P 8 (cross-
referenced at 129 FERC ] 61,094).
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II. Discussion

    5. The Commission believes that its internal processes will be more 
efficient if the Office of Electric Reliability is the lead office for 
reviewing and processing Notices. Accordingly, this Final Rule revises 
the delegations to the Director of the Office of Electric Reliability 
and Director of the Office of Enforcement. Specifically, this Final 
Rule transfers the authority to extend the period of time to consider 
Notices for the purpose of obtaining additional information, which is 
currently delegated to the Director of the Office of Enforcement in 
section 375.311(v) of the Commission's regulations, to the Director of 
the Office of Electric Reliability. In addition, this Final Rule 
removes the related authority delegated to the Director of the Office 
of Enforcement to require NERC or applicable Regional Entities to 
provide information necessary to review and process Notices, which is 
currently delegated in section 375.311(u) of the Commission's 
regulations.\4\
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    \4\ As discussed in Order No. 728, the Director of the Office of 
Electric Reliability already possesses this delegated authority. 
Order No. 728, FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 31,298 at P 6 (cross-referenced 
at 129 FERC ] 61,094).
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    6. New section 375.303(a)(2)(vi) delegates to the Director of the 
Office of Electric Reliability the authority to extend the period of 
time to review Notices.

III. Information Collection Statement

    7. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations require OMB to 
approve certain information collection requirements imposed by agency 
rule.\5\ This Final Rule contains no new or revised information 
collections. Therefore, OMB review of this Final Rule is not required.
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    \5\ 5 CFR part 1320.
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IV. Environmental Analysis

    8. 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.\6\ Excluded 
from this requirement are rules that are procedural, ministerial, or 
internal administrative and management actions, programs or 
decisions.\7\ This Final Rule falls within this exception; 
consequently, no environmental consideration is necessary.
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    \6\ Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, Order No. 486, 52 FR 47897 (Dec. 17, 1987), FERC Stats. 
& Regs. ] 30,783 (1987).
    \7\ 18 CFR 380.4(a)(1).
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V. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    9. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) \8\ generally 
requires a description and analysis of final rules that will have 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
This Final Rule concerns a matter of internal agency procedure and it 
will not have such an impact. An analysis under the RFA is therefore 
not required.
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    \8\ 5 U.S.C. 601-612.
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VI. Document Availability

    10. 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.
    11. 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 
(i.e., the sub docket number, 000) in the docket number field.
    12. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the Commission's 
Web site during normal business hours from FERC Online Support at (202) 
502-6652 (toll free at (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.

VII. Effective Date and Congressional Notification

    13. The provisions of 5 U.S.C. 801 regarding Congressional review 
of Final Rules do not apply to this Final Rule because the rule 
concerns internal agency procedure and practice and will not 
substantially affect the rights of non-agency parties.
    14. These regulations are effective on February 19, 2014. The 
Commission finds that notice and public comments are unnecessary 
because this Final Rule concerns only internal agency procedure and 
practice. Therefore the Commission finds good cause to waive the notice 
period otherwise required before the effective date of this Final Rule.

List of Subjects in 18 CFR Part 375

    Authority delegations (Government agencies), Seals and insignia, 
Sunshine Act.

    By the Commission.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
Deputy Secretary.
    In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission amends part 375, 
chapter I, title 18, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

PART 375--THE COMMISSION

0
1. The authority citation for part 375 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 551-557; 15 U.S.C. 717-717w, 3301-3432; 16 
U.S.C. 791-825r, 2601-2645; 42 U.S.C. 7101-7352.


0
2. In Sec.  375.303 add paragraph (a)(2)(vi) to read as follows:


Sec.  375.303  Delegations to the Director of the Office of Electric 
Reliability.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (vi) Issue an order extending the period of time for consideration 
of a Notice of Penalty filed under Section

[[Page 9404]]

215(e) of the Federal Power Act for the purpose of directing the 
Electric Reliability Organization or the applicable Regional Entity to 
provide such information as is necessary to implement Section 215(e)(2) 
of the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. 824o(e)(2)) pursuant to Sec.  39.2 
and Part 40 of this chapter.
* * * * *


Sec.  375.311  [Amended]

0
3. In Sec.  375.311 remove paragraphs (u) and (v).

[FR Doc. 2014-03432 Filed 2-18-14; 8:45 am]
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