|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 02/29/2016|
NRG's retail business sells energy and related services as well as portable power and battery solutions to customers across the country. In most of the states that have introduced retail competition, NRG's retail business competitively offers retail power, natural gas, portable power or other value-enhancing services to end-use customers. Each retail choice state establishes its own retail competition laws and regulations, and the specific operational, licensing, and compliance requirements vary on a state-by-state basis. In the East markets, incumbent utilities currently provide default service and as a result typically serve a majority of residential customers. Regulated terms and conditions of default service, as well as any movement to replace default service with competitive services, as is done in ERCOT, can affect customer participation in retail competition. The attractiveness of NRG's retail offerings in each state may be impacted by the rules, regulations, market structure and communication requirements from public utility commissions across the country.
The Home Solar business operates in a number of states where solar solutions are attractive and price competitive to consumers. Many state public service commissions are evaluating changes to their retail rules, including net metering rules, imposition of minimum bills or an increased fixed component to bills, among other potential changes. In December 2015, the U.S. Congress enacted an extension of the 30% solar ITC so that projects which begin construction in 2016 through 2019 will continue to qualify for the 30% ITC. Projects beginning construction in 2020 and 2021 will be eligible for the ITC at rates of 26% and 22%, respectively. The ITC reverts to a permanent 10% thereafter.
As owners of power plants and participants in wholesale and retail energy markets, certain NRG entities are subject to regulation by various federal and state government agencies. These include the CFTC, FERC, NRC and the PUCT, as well as other public utility commissions in certain states where NRG's generating, thermal, or distributed generation assets are located. In addition, NRG is subject to the market rules, procedures and protocols of the various ISO and RTO markets in which it participates. Likewise, certain NRG entities participating in the retail markets are subject to rules and regulations established by the states in which NRG entities are licensed to sell at retail. NRG must also comply with the mandatory reliability requirements imposed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation and the regional reliability entities in the regions where the Company operates.
NRG's operations within the ERCOT footprint are not subject to rate regulation by FERC, as they are deemed to operate solely within the ERCOT market and not in interstate commerce. These operations are subject to regulation by the PUCT, as well as to regulation by the NRC with respect to the Company's ownership interest in STP.
The CFTC, among other things, has regulatory oversight authority over the trading of swaps, futures and many commodities under the Commodity Exchange Act, or CEA. Since 2010, there have been a number of reforms to the regulation of the derivatives markets, both in the U.S. and internationally. These regulations, and any further changes thereto, or adoption of additional regulations, including any regulations relating to position limits on futures and other derivatives or margin for derivatives, could negatively impact the Company’s ability to hedge its portfolio in an efficient, cost-effective manner by, among other things, potentially decreasing liquidity in the forward commodity and derivatives markets or limiting the Company’s ability to utilize non-cash collateral for derivatives transactions.
FERC, among other things, regulates the transmission and the wholesale sale by public utilities of electricity in interstate commerce under the authority of the FPA. Under existing regulations, FERC determines whether an entity owning a generation facility is an EWG as defined in the PUHCA. FERC also determines whether a generation facility meets the ownership and technical criteria of a QF under PURPA. The transmission of electric energy occurring wholly within ERCOT is not subject to FERC's rate jurisdiction under Sections 203 or 205 of the FPA. Each of NRG's non-ERCOT U.S. generating facilities either qualifies as a QF, or the subsidiary owning the facility qualifies as an EWG.
Public utilities are required to obtain FERC's acceptance, pursuant to Section 205 of the FPA, of their rate schedules for the wholesale sale of electricity. Generally all of NRG's non-QF generating and power marketing entities located outside of ERCOT make sales of electricity pursuant to market-based rates, as opposed to traditional cost-of-service regulated rates.