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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Electric Quarterly Reports (EQRs) Software

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Commission’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in Docket No. RM12-3-000


Updated: 07/31/2012

This Frequently Asked Questions document is meant to assist the public in commenting on the Revised Public Utility Filing Requirements for Electric Quarterly Reports Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) issued in Docket No. RM12-3-000 on June 21, 2012. Additional questions and answers may be added from time to time. The public may submit questions via email to eqr@ferc.gov. However, comments on the NOPR must be filed in Docket No. RM12-3-000.


1. Would FERC please transcribe the technical conference and make it available to the public?

The transcript of the July 11, 2012 technical conference available for download from the FERC Events Calendar, which is available at www.ferc.gov and will be posted in eLibrary in Docket No. RM12-3-000.

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2. Has the EQR XML schema been developed? If not, when will it be available?

Staff is currently developing the schemas. The draft schemas are available to download from the Commission website at:

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3. Will the schema account for the concept of "schema version" as the schema is likely to change over time?

Yes, schema versions will be available as a current version and as archived versions.

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4. Will FERC issue a final rule in Docket No. RM10-12 prior to issuing the EQR schema?

Staff is prohibited from discussing the timing of Commission orders.

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5. Will FERC issue staged XSDs reflecting updates upon resolution of the pending substantive EQR rulemakings?

Updated XSDs will be made available whenever necessary and as soon as practical.

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6. What is the strategy for data validation within the schema? How much validation will be provided by the schema?

There are two schemas. One is for the structure, which will validate that the elements are named correctly and in the correct hierarchy. The second is the data values schema, which contains the legal values for some of the elements. There is a reference from the structure schema to the data schema. An EQR XML file should make the appropriate reference to the structure schema. During validation, the structure and the data will be validated. Additional business rule validations will be made outside of the schemas. For example, if a transaction is identified as an update, but there are no underlying existing records for the pertinent filing period, the transaction would be identified as an error.

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7. Will the “web-interface” and the “XML web service” options both have the same error checking validation routines as the current EQR software? If so, for each method, how will the errors be communicated to the filer?

Yes. Errors detected using the web-based interface will be listed on-screen before the EQR is submitted. In both cases, the submitted file will be validated using XML Schema Definition (XSD) prior to a more thorough validation. Email updates will be sent with descriptions of any errors found. The XML file may be validated using the XSD to be able to see errors prior to submitting the EQR.

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8. If an XML file with all identified errors will be returned, will the filer be able to view, save, and print that file, at the filer’s option?

The XML file will not be returned. Both the validation email and the rejection email will contain the errors. If there were multiple errors of the same code a summary will be provided.

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9. Will FERC provide real-time validation similar to a submission where only validation is performed and feedback provided to the EQR filer?

The web application will have a validation button so that filers can submit their filing for validation only. A validation email will be sent that will identify any errors in or warnings about the filing. Additionally, users of the web service may use the “Test” method, which will validate the submitted XML and return only the validation email. Users who prepare XML files are encouraged to validate their XML file against the XSD prior to either uploading the XML to the web application or submittal to the web service.

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10. Will one company still be able to file an EQR on behalf of multiple companies, identifying the actual seller for each contract or transaction separately, under both of the proposed new filing options?


11. Will a company that is not a public utility be able to file an EQR on behalf of one or more companies, even if the company is not identified as an agent in the jurisdictional contracts of the companies on whose behalf it is filing?


12. Can non-utilities register for a Company ID?

Only public utilities can register for a Company ID.

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13. Will FERC populate the EQR database with filers’ previous EQR filings in both the “CSV web-interface” and the “XML” filing options?

Previous EQR filings will be available for export from the web-based interface in either CSV or XML formats.

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14. Will filers be able to correct and re-file old data submitted using the current software under each option, for example, in the event an error needs to be corrected?

Yes, re-filing EQR data will be able to be done using the proposed web-based or XML-based interface.

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15. Will legacy data be available in the new interface?  If not, how will legacy data be re-filed if necessary?

Legacy data will be available when using the web-based interface, which users can use to export data to either a CSV or XML format. All re-filing will be done using the new system.

Users have the following options to re-file a prior filing period.
  1. Download the CSV files from the EQR Viewer by utilizing the download function. Supply the company registration ID’s for the Respondents, Agents, and Sellers in the identity’s file and then upload them through the web interface.
  2. Use the data entry option of the new web interface.
  3. Use a 3rd party tool to utilize the legacy data and submit the data to FERC.

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16. Will filers still be able to import and upload their transactions data from multiple sources, such as trade capture systems, ISO data, and sales tracked outside of the trade capture system, under both options?

Yes, however the data must be prepared in the proper manner. If you’re importing CSV files you can capture multiple sources into multiple CSV files and import those files. For XML, you can capture data from multiple sources, but all data must be combined into one single file. Combining CSV and XML files is not possible under the new system.

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17. How well will the web-interface process handle large files? Will it allow for uploads of more than a million lines of data?

The web-based interface will be designed to handle CSV files of any size.

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18. Will filers still be able to have separate individuals compile their power sales contract data and their transmission contract data, as may be necessary for Standards of Conduct reasons, under both options?

Yes. Multiple individuals will be able to access the EQR data using the web-based interface. However, while multiple users may file different parts of an EQR filing, they may not do so simultaneously. If one person is editing the EQR data in the web interface, others will be locked out until the first user is done.

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19. How will reporting entities’ submittals be managed in the web-based system, if many people are trying to access the site at the same time?

Regarding editing, many people can access the system at the same time, but only one person at a time can edit a filing. Regarding downloading, the new filing options will not have the same limitations to download to a set number of concurrent filers as there are in the existing system. The data will be updated and will be prepared nightly for downloading. The data then will be available to all users without having to wait until the following day to receive an email with a link. A date will be provided as to the last time the data was updated.

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20. Will filers still be able to load their files in pieces, and then export the entire filing to perform a review (or to give to a second party for review) prior to submittal under both options?

Users can export data to either a CSV or XML format using the web-based interface. Any delegated FERCOnline user can login to the web-based interface to review a submission that is in progress, provided that another user does not have the session locked for editing. Users will be able to work in piecemeal and test the data for validation errors prior to submitting the EQR filing.

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21. Will both options allow for batch editing and deletions? (The current distributed software has very limited capabilities in this regard.)

Yes, the new system allows for updates and deletions to be submitted without re-filing the entire filing period.

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22. Will there be a way to recall and replace a submittal, before it becomes a quarterly filing, if data corrections need to be made?

No, a recall option will not be available, but users can resubmit the data at any time. In addition, users can export data to either a CSV or XML format using the web-based interface. Any delegated FERCOnline user can login to the web-based interface to review a submission that is in progress, provided that another user does not have the session locked for editing. Users will be able to work in piecemeal and test the data for validation errors prior to submitting the EQR filing.

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23. How will XML EQR reports be transmitted? Via zipped file?


24. Will the XML- and web-based interfaces be faster or slower than the current system?

The XML- and web-based options are being implemented to allow for a more efficient use of resources, and thus, may be faster than the current system. Since these options are in development, a definitive answer to this question is not possible.

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25. Will the data still be publicly available from the FERC website? If yes, will the mode of accessing the data change?

The EQR data will be available in the same formats as it is today.

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26. Will there be security constraints around the download? Or will anyone be able to download anyone else's EQR data like today?

EQR data will remain publicly available.

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27. Does the user populate the seller contact information or will this be automatically populated?

Both options are available.

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28. Will filers still be able to copy their Company ID and Contract data forward each quarter under both options, as they can now?

Yes, after the Company ID’s have been assigned in the initial filing period.

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29. Will filers still be able to copy their Contract data forward and have expired contracts automatically deleted under both options, as they currently can?

Filers will be able to copy data forward with the option to delete expired contracts.

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30. Will filers still be able to copy their Contract data forward and then add new contracts that have been executed during the quarter under both options, as they can now?


31. Has FERC stress-tested the web-based filing process with multiple simultaneous filers to see if there are performance issues?

Testing will be completed prior to implementation.

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32. Do the current Data Dictionary and Data Templates fully describe the data field requirements for EQR in 2013? Or will additional data field requirements be provided?

The proposed filing options use the current EQR filing requirements.

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33. Will FERC provide master lists of lookup values (e.g., country names, increment names, hub names, etc.)? If so, how will the values be provided? If so, will the values be date-sensitive such that old values can be expired and new one introduced over time?

Look-up values are provided in the EQR Data Dictionary, which currently is available for download from the FERC website at Filing Software & Tools. This document is not date sensitive. The XML data schema will provide all lookups and include the version number.

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34. Would FERC please provide both: (1) the “CSV web interface” process, and (2) up-to-date FoxPro software for at least two quarters and preferably a year, so that users can determine if the web-interface option will suffice for their needs before they lose the software option?

We do not plan to make the Visual FoxPro software interface available upon implementation of the new EQR filing interface options. However, the NOPR proposes that implementation provide the new filing options for 3rd Quarter 2013 filings, which is a year after the NOPR issued.

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35. Will companies have the option to switch between the “CSV web interface” and “XML” formats for their filings?

Yes, but not within a given submission. For example, if a company has submitted part of one quarter’s filing through the web interface, the company will not be able to submit another part of its filing using XML.

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36. Can companies switch between formats more than once, if necessary?

Yes, a company can submit a filing for one quarter using the web interface and use XML to submit a filing for the next quarter, but as explained above, not within a given submission.

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37. Will a company have the option to use both formats simultaneously?


 

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Updated: July 31, 2012