Electric Competition

National policy for many years has been and continues to be fostering competition in wholesale power markets. In each major energy bill over the last few decades, Congress has acted to open up the wholesale electric power market by facilitating the entry of new generators to compete with traditional utilities. As the third major federal law enacted in the last 30 years to embrace wholesale competition, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 strengthened the legal framework for continuing wholesale competition as federal policy for this country. The Commission has acted quickly and strongly over the years to implement this national policy.

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RTOs and ISOs

Information on Regional Transmission Organizations (RTO) and Independent System Operators (ISO) with quick links to each region and major orders the Commission has issued, including Orders Nos. 888/889, RTO/ISO Performance Metrics, FERC Staff Reports and Energy Price Formation information.

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Electric Market-Based Rates

The Commission grants market-based rate authorization for wholesale sales of electric energy, capacity and ancillary services by sellers that can demonstrate that they and their affiliates lack or have adequately mitigated horizontal and vertical market power. Discussed herein are the most common types of filings made concerning electric market-based rate authority and details on how to submit those filings.

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Staff Guidance on WECC Soft Offer Caps

Recently, high temperatures and adverse weather conditions impacted wholesale electric market activity in the Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC).  In multiple orders,  the Commission has stated that spot market sales above the soft energy price cap in WECC outside of the California Independent System Operator Corporation (CAISO) are subject to justification and refund, and that cost justification must be filed within seven days after the end of the month in which the excess sale occurred.  In recognition that regulated entities may require additional time to submit cost justification, the Commission extended the reporting deadline for cost justification filings related to sales that took place in August, 2020, from September 8, 2020, to October 7, 2020.

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Electric Quarterly Reports

The EQR is the reporting mechanism FERC uses for public utilities to fulfill their responsibility under section 205(c) of the Federal Power Act (FPA) to have their rates and charges on file in a convenient form and place. The EQR contains Seller-provided data summarizing contractual terms and conditions in agreements for all jurisdictional services, including cost-based sales, market-based rate sales, and transmission service, as well as transaction information for short-term and long-term market-based power sales and cost-based power sales. Certain non-public utilities are also required to file EQRs under section 220 of the FPA, beginning in the third quarter of 2013.

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Access EQR Filing system here

Exempt Wholesale Generators (EWG)

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.

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PURPA Qualifing Facilities

What is a Qualifying Facility?

The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) was implemented to encourage, among other things,

  1. The conservation of electric energy.
  2. Increased efficiency in the use of facilities and resources by electric utilities.
  3. Equitable retail rates for electric consumers.
  4. Expeditious development of hydroelectric potential at existing small dams.
  5. Conservation of natural gas while ensuring that rates to natural gas consumers are equitable.

One of the ways PURPA set out to accomplish its goals was through the establishment of a new class of generating facilities that would receive special rate and regulatory treatment. Generating facilities in this group are known as qualifying facilities (QFs), and fall into two categories: qualifying small power production facilities and qualifying cogeneration facilities.

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PURPA Qualifing Facilities FAQs

Increasing Efficiency through Improved Software

The Commission is identifying opportunities to enhance operational efficiency in jurisdictional markets by encouraging public utilities, particularly RTOs and ISOs, to consider the deployment of new modeling software for their market operations. By improving efficiency in the use of computational methods and identifying ways in which the operation of utility assets can be optimized, the Commission will enhance operational efficiency to the benefit of all public utility customers. In addition, the Commission will consider the implementation of rules and practices developed by individual RTOs and ISOs, as well as the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).

Learn more about Increasing Efficiency through Improved Software 

Demand Response

Effective demand response can help reduce electric price volatility, mitigate generation market power, and enhance reliability. As required by Section 1252(e)(3) of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) FERC is now required to report annually on Demand Response and Advanced Metering.

Learn more about demand response

Integration of Renewables

The use of renewable energy resources to generate electricity has the potential to be a cost-effective means not only to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to diversify the fuels used to generate electricity. The Commission will continue to pursue market reforms to allow all resources, including renewable energy resources, to compete in jurisdictional markets on a level playing field. These efforts could include amendments to market rules, the modification or creation of ancillary services and related policies, or the implementation of operational tools that support the reliable integration of renewable resources. By implementing these or other reforms, the Commission's actions have the potential to increase the amount of electricity being produced from renewable energy resources.


This page was last updated on June 30, 2021