FERC Issues Penalty Guidelines

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The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) yesterday issued new Penalty Guidelines that it will use to determine civil penalties for violations of the statutes that FERC administers and its rules, regulations and orders thereunder. In an accompanying Policy Statement, FERC stated that the Penalty Guidelines are designed to promote greater consistency, transparency, and fairness in the determination of civil penalties. The Penalty Guidelines will apply to all future violations and any pending investigation where FERC’s Enforcement staff and the organization have not yet entered into settlement negotiations. The Penalty Guidelines are the latest effort by FERC to ensure “firm but fair” enforcement of federal energy laws and requirements, and to provide the clarity sought by many in the energy industry concerning the determination of monetary penalties. Whether the Penalty Guidelines meet those objectives remains to be seen.

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