|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2018|
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 NERC and the regional reliability entities in the regions where NRG 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 NRG's ownership interest in STP.
Federal Energy Regulation
FERC 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.
Derivatives Regulatory Reforms
In the U.S., the CFTC regulates the trading of swaps, futures and many commodities under the Commodity Exchange Act, or CEA. In recent years, 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 NRG’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 NRG’s ability to utilize non-cash collateral for derivatives transactions.
Department of Energy's Proposed Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule — On September 29, 2017, the Department of Energy issued a proposed rulemaking titled the "Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule." The rulemaking proposed that FERC take action to reform the ISO/RTO markets to value certain reliability and resiliency attributes of electric generation resources. On October 23, 2017, NRG filed comments encouraging FERC to act expeditiously to modernize energy and capacity markets in a manner compatible with robust competitive markets. On January 8, 2018, FERC terminated the proposed rulemaking and opened a new rulemaking asking each ISO/RTO to address specific questions focused on grid resilience.
State Energy Regulation
In Texas, NRG's operations within the ERCOT footprint are not subject to rate regulation by FERC, because they operate solely within the ERCOT market. These operations are subject to regulation by the PUCT, as well as to regulation by the NRC with respect to NRG's ownership interest in STP.
In New York, NRG's generation subsidiaries are electric corporations subject to "lightened" regulation by the NYSPSC. As such, the NYSPSC exercises its jurisdictional authority over certain non-rate aspects of the facilities, including safety, retirements, and the issuance of debt secured by recourse to NRG's generation assets located in New York.
In California, NRG's generation subsidiaries are subject to regulation by the CPUC with regard to certain non-rate aspects of the facilities, including health and safety, outage reporting and other aspects of the facilities' operations. Additionally, the competitiveness of many of NRG's businesses depends on state competition and other policies.