FERC approves Berkshire Power settlement
FERC approves Berkshire Power settlement
Federal energy regulators have approved a stipulation and consent agreement to which two companies admit violations from the Federal Power Act and rules prohibiting energy market manipulation.
The situation involves Berkshire Electric Company LLC (Berkshire), and Power Plant Management Services LLC. Berkshire owns an roughly 245 MW gas-fired, combined-cycle generating facility in Agawam, Massachusetts. Berkshire hired PPMS to supply project management software and administrative services in the plant.
Based on FERC documents, in the direction of the gm hired by PPMS, “Berkshire Power involved in a dishonest plan to do unreported maintenance work and also to hide that actually work and connected maintenance outages from ISO-NE.” The documents allege that folks in the plant scheduled maintenance work with occasions once the plant was unlikely to become dispatched, after which unsuccessful to inform ISO-NE concerning the work or even the connected Plant unavailability. In a minimum of six instances, this brought to representations to ISO Colonial dispatchers the plant was beginning up or could launch if this was, actually, unavailable because of ongoing maintenance or any other technical problems.
The Commission’s Office of Enforcement initiated its analysis in June 2014, carrying out a referral in the U . s . States Attorney’s Office for that District of Massachusetts. Following fact-finding, Enforcement figured Berkshire and PPMS violated section 222 from the Federal Power Act and also the Commission’s Anti-Manipulation Rule by concealing its maintenance work and connected outages from ISO-NE. That rule prohibits any entity by using a dishonest device, plan, or artifice, or participating in any act, practice, or span of business that operates or would operate like a fraud using the requisite scienter regarding the a transaction susceptible to the jurisdiction from the Commission.
Enforcement also figured Berkshire violated Commission rules by violating provisions from the ISO-NE tariff requiring it to schedule and disclose plant maintenance and also to precisely set of plant availability, by making false and misleading representations to ISO-NE. Finally, Enforcement figured Berkshire violated Commission-approved reliability standards by withholding specifics of its planned maintenance outages and plant abilities and availability.
Based on the order, work of Enforcement, Berkshire, and PPMS have resolved the problem with a stipulation and consent agreement. Under that deal, Berkshire and PPMS stipulate towards the details, admit the violations put down within the Agreement, and accept pay a civil penalty of $2,000,000 towards the U . s . States Treasury. Berkshire concurs to pay for to ISO-NE disgorgement of $1,012,563, plus interest. Berkshire further concurs to pay for a civil penalty of $30,000 towards the U . s . States Treasury because of its violations from the Reliability Standards.
In the March 30, 2016 order accepting that settlement, the Commission noted Enforcement’s thought on the standards within the Revised Policy Statement on Penalty Guidelines. Factors reported because supporting “the right remedy” include “that both companies cooperated fully and comprehensively through the analysis, both recognized responsibility for his or her violations, nor includes a prior good reputation for violations.” An order notes the remedy also reflects that neither company had a highly effective compliance enter in place throughout the relevant period, which a higher-level worker in the plant directed the plan.
An order directs Berkshire and PPMS to help make the disgorgement and civil penalty payments as needed through the Agreement within ten working days of their Effective Date. ISO-NE was forwarded to allocate the disgorgement funds pro rata to network load throughout the relevant period. An order also directs Berkshire and PPMS to conform using the provisions within the Agreement also requiring these to implement procedures to enhance compliance moving forward, susceptible to monitoring via submission of semi-annual reports not less than twelve months.