Special Report: DOE/IG-0947

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September 29, 2015

Enforcement Activities Conducted by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is an independent agency that regulates the Nation's natural gas industry, hydroelectric projects, oil pipelines, and wholesale rates for electricity.  Within FERC, the Office of Enforcement (OE) is tasked with protecting customers by conducting oversight of energy markets, identifying and remedying market problems in a timely manner, ensuring compliance with rules and regulations, and detecting and combating market manipulation.

OE initiates and executes investigations of possible violations of the statutes administered by FERC and the rules, orders, and regulations issued thereunder.  Given the importance of FERC's mission and the significance of its expanded enforcement authority, we initiated this special review of OE's enforcement activities and related policies and procedures.  OE's enforcement activities include investigations of FERC-regulated entities and handling of hotline calls and self-reports of possible violations.

To accomplish our objective, we reviewed 7 closed investigations, 20 closed hotline cases, and 10 closed cases regarding potential violations, which had been self-reported by regulated entities.  We did not review open cases so as to avoid any Office of Inspector General interference with ongoing enforcement activities.  We assessed OE's activities based on enforcement policies, procedures, pertinent public and nonpublic documentation, and interviews with investigative staff.  Based on this examination, nothing came to our attention to indicate that OE had not performed enforcement activities in accordance with its own policies and procedures.

Topic: Management & Administration