The Commission reviews certifications of exempt wholesale generator (EWG) status to determine whether the entity filing the certification falls within the definition of an EWG. In most cases, these filings are self-certifications that become effective by operation of the Commission’s regulations upon the conclusion of a 60-day period that begins on the date that a complete self-certification is filed with the Commission. Upon petition, the Commission may issue a declaratory order that determines whether a company qualifies as an EWG. This webpage provides general information on EWG status, guidance on EWG certification filings and on updates to those filings, as well as links to major orders relevant to EWG matters.
What is an EWG?
The Public Utility Holding Company Act of 2005 (PUHCA 2005) states that the term “exempt wholesale generator” will have the same meaning as that term had in section 32 of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 (PUHCA 1935). Section 32(a)(1) of PUHCA 1935 defined an exempt wholesale generator as “any person determined by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to be engaged directly, or indirectly through one or more affiliates . . . , and exclusively in the business of owning or operating, or both owning and operating, all or part of one or more eligible facilities and selling electric energy at wholesale."
The Significance of EWG Status
There is no obligation for a company engaging in wholesale generating operations to become an EWG. EWG status under PUHCA 2005 has significance primarily for the EWG’s owners rather than the EWG itself. That significance takes the form of exemptions from or waivers of requirements under PUHCA 2005.
EWGs and the Federal Power Act
The significance of EWG status is restricted almost entirely to matters pertaining to PUHCA 2005. Domestic EWGs are public utilities under section 201(e) of the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. § 824(e) (2012), and they are subject to all of the FPA requirements that apply to public utilities. In short, the term “exempt” in the designation “exempt wholesale generator” refers to exemptions from PUHCA 2005.
EWG Certification Procedures
The Commission’s regulations provide for two procedures for certifying that a company is an EWG. The first, and by far the most common, is the filing of a notice of self-certification. The self-certification process is described at 18 C.F.R. § 366.7(a).
Commission Review of EWG Certifications
Commission staff reviews each EWG notice of self-certification that is filed and will contact the filer if there are any deficiencies that require some action. Companies that make their filing in good faith are deemed to be an EWG upon making the filing.
The statutory definition of an EWG requires that an EWG be exclusively in the business of owning or operating, or both owning and operating, all or part of one or more eligible facilities and selling electric energy at wholesale. Read literally, this requirement appears to prohibit other activities that may be a common or appropriate part of the business of wholesale generation and sales.
Sample Notice of Self-Certification
Below are links to a sample notice of self-certification and a document that provides guidance and commentary, through annotations, on the core representations required for certification of EWG status.
Other EWG Filings
Information on filings that may or should be made after a company has been certified as an EWG, specifically, Notices of Material Change in Fact, Notices of Non-Material Change in Fact, and Notices of Self-Recertification of EWG Status.
- Notices of Non-Material Change in Fact - When facts related to an EWG or its eligible facility change, there may be questions concerning the EWG’s continued qualification for EWG status. Section 366.7(c) of the Commission’s regulations, 18 C.F.R. § 366.7(c), provides for this possibility by creating a requirement that an EWG file a notification of material change in facts that may affect its status as an EWG.
- Notices of Self-Recertification of EWG Status - One of the procedures for submitting a notice of material change in fact is to submit a notice of self-recertification of EWG status.
Important Orders and Other Documents
These documents provide background and information relevant to EWG status.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answers to questions on common issues for filers about Exempt Wholesale Generators (EWG).
Information on Applicable Sections of PUHCA 1935
The following provides a summary of the content of sections 32(a) and 32(b) - (d) of PUHCA 1935 that are cited in 18 CFR § 366.1 as applicable to the definition of an EWG.