The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is a federal agency of the United States involved in regulating the wholesale sale and transmission of natural gas and electricity in interstate commerce. It also regulates oil transportation by pipeline and reviews proposals to build interstate gas pipelines, LNG terminals, and projects for storage of gas while also licensing non-federal hydropower projects.
While XBRL reporting is relatively new to FERC, its journey with digital corporate filings dates to 1997. Microsoft’s Visual FoxPro (VFP) was used by the Commission for accepting financial data for the longest time until Microsoft eventually announced that it would be pulling support for it. Consequently, in early 2019, the FERC announced that it was going to transition to the XML-based XBRL standard as it was developed specifically for the purpose of reporting financial data and is widely used for collecting such data by a lot of regulatory bodies.
FERC noted that the American energy industry already used the XML format (atop which XBRL is built) to submit eTariff and EQR along with other filings and reports to the Commission. XML was found to have significant advantages over other approaches as it is commonly used to submit electronic data.
CSV files and web-based forms are generally less flexible and efficient in comparison with XML for communicating electronic data and generally consume more time and resources to develop and maintain. CSV uploads were found to be harder to error check and would need conversion that had the potential to create data errors. It would also not be feasible to accommodate large and complex footnotes that often accompany financial data.
Instead of filers having to input their data into a proprietary database application, FERC determined that the XML format would permit filers to develop (or obtain from third-party vendors) a system for gathering form data best suited to their own internal systems.
They reckoned that this would enable filers to maintain their own data and information in their preferred formats. They could then repackage that material for submission to FERC at the appropriate time. Adopting the XML format would reduce costs for the FERC to process information, eliminating the need for them to provide software to filers.
On the back of its successful implementation of XBRL last year, the US FERC has published an updated set of taxonomies for 2022 dubbed the Release 2.0 Taxonomies. It has also made rendering files and validation rules available for use in testing and submitting filings via FERC’s eForms online portal.
These XBRL taxonomies enable FERC to receive structured data from energy companies, facilitating analysis and insight and making the regulatory reporting process more useful.
FERC forms come in different shapes and sizes depending on the type of energy company filing them. These forms are spread across 4 types of energy companies in the US.
The table below summarizes FERC forms alongside a brief description of them.
|FERC Form No.
|Annual report of major electric utility
|Annual report of non-major electric utility
|Quarterly financial report of electric utilities & licensees
|Annual electric balancing authority area & planning area report
|Natural Gas & Hydro
|Major natural gas pipeline annual report
|Non-major natural gas pipeline annual report
|3-Q natural gas
|Quarterly financial report of natural gas companies & licensees
|Annual report of oil pipeline companies
|Quarterly report of oil pipeline companies
|Annual report of centralized service companies
FERC Form No. 1: This is an annual regulatory requirement for Major electric utilities, licensees, and others. These reports are designed to collect financial and operational information from electric utilities, licensees, and others subject to the jurisdiction of the FERC.
FERC Form No. 3-Q Electric: This is a quarterly regulatory requirement that supplements the annual financial reporting requirement. Each major electric utility, licensee, or other, as classified by the Commission must submit FERC Form 1 and FERC Form 3-Q.
FERC Form No. 1-F: This is a financial and operating report submitted annually for electric rate regulation, market oversight analysis, and financial audits by Nonmajor electric utilities and licensees.
FERC Form No. 714: This form collects information from electric utility balancing authorities and planning areas in the United States. The information collected through Form 714 is used by the FERC to monitor interconnected balancing authority area operations. This includes comprehensive information about balancing authority area generation, actual and scheduled inter-balancing authority area power transfers, and load.
FERC Form Nos. 2, 2-A, and 3-Q (Hydro and Natural Gas): These forms are designed to collect financial and operational information from natural gas companies subject to the jurisdiction of the FERC. Each natural gas company whose combined gas is transported or stored for a fee exceeding 50 million dekatherms in each of the previous 3 years must submit FERC Forms 2 and 3-Q. Each natural gas company not meeting the filing threshold for FERC Form 2, but having total gas sales or volume transactions exceeding 200,000 dekatherms in each of the previous 3 calendar years must submit FERC Form 2-A and 3-Q. Newly established entities must use projected data to determine whether they must file the FERC Form 3-Q and FERC Form 2 or 2-A.
FERC Form Nos. 6 and 6-Q: These are annual and quarterly regulatory reporting requirements respectively. These reports are designed to collect both financial and operational information from oil pipeline companies subject to the jurisdiction of the FERC. Each oil pipeline carrier whose annual jurisdictional operating revenues has been $500,000 or more for each of the 3 previous calendar years must file these forms. Oil pipeline carriers submitting FERC Form 6 must also submit FERC Form 6-Q. Newly established entities must use projected data to determine whether FERC Form No. 6 must be filed.
FERC Form No. 60: This is an annual regulatory support requirement for centralized service companies. It is designed to collect financial information from centralized service companies subject to the jurisdiction of the FERC. Unless the holding company system is exempted or granted a waiver by the Commission, every centralized service company in a holding company system must prepare and file this form electronically with the Commission.
These forms are filed by energy companies using the FERC’s eForms portal. Sample forms and taxonomies are made available here as well for companies to familiarize themselves with the process.
Yeti is FERC’s interactive taxonomy viewer that allows for the form-wise exploration of FERC XBRL taxonomies. The FERC maintains a list of known issues with the portal as well and allows new ones to be flagged and reported by writing to them.
The FERC also strongly encourages filers to submit the FERC-730 electronically via eFiling. Form 730 contains tables for Actual and Projected Electric Transmission Capital Spending and Project Detail, and a change to XBRL is consistent with the planned change to XBRL for Form 1 reporting.
In order to submit these forms electronically, utility companies need to make use of the FERC Taxonomy that is made available by the Commission on their eForms Refresh portal. The FERC has recently adjusted the taxonomies for Forms 1, 1-F, 3-Q (electric), 2, 2-A, 3-Q (natural gas), 6, 6-Q, 60, and 714 to allow the system to accept refilings as far back as 2000. More information can be found here.
Future of FERC XBRL Reporting
The FERC is continuously advancing policies and regulatory requirements taking into account the rapidly changing ground realities around natural resources, their utilization, and how they affect our environment. Published at the end of March 2022, the FERC has laid out a Strategic Plan for the next four years (fiscal years 2022-2026) where it outlines its mission, objectives, and strategic priorities.
The FERC’s mission is to assist consumers in obtaining reliable, safe, secure, and economically efficient energy services at a reasonable cost. It aims to achieve this through appropriate regulatory and marketing means and collaborative efforts.
IRIS CARBON® is deeply invested in the FERC XBRL mandate, working closely with the regulator in guiding the future direction of data collection and utilization. Our goal is to not only facilitate the smooth and time-bound filing of FERC XBRL reports for energy utility companies but also to provide deep analytics of this public data via the platform that can enable peer-to-peer comparisons and unlock value for a host of different stakeholders.
As the FERC continues to modernize and introduce newer regulatory requirements, you can always count on IRIS CARBON® as a reliable partner to guide and assist you through new developments in the world of American energy reporting.
We are synonymous with high-quality XBRL output so when you choose us for your FERC filings, you choose a seamless and hassle-free way to comply with your energy reporting regulatory requirements. You will find us constantly evolving the customer experience through frequent software updates that allow us to be state-of-the-art and on top of everything.
IRIS CARBON® for FERC Reporting
IRIS CARBON® makes filing XBRL reports with the FERC a walk in the park even if you’re completely new to it. The user-friendliness and reliability of our offering have earned us the appreciation and trust of numerous XBRL filers around the globe.
When you choose IRIS CARBON® for FERC filings, here’s what you can expect:
No XBRL expertise required – IRIS CARBON® requires no knowledge of XBRL from users for its FERC solution. XBRL tags are embedded in the FERC forms, which means users of IRIS CARBON® needn’t learn to map their data to the right FERC XBRL taxonomy element.
Multiple routes to data entry – IRIS CARBON® allows unparalleled flexibility when it comes to working with large amounts of data. Users can upload data from an MS Excel workbook or pull data automatically from internal systems, or simply key in the data.
Smart user management – In companies with large FERC compliance teams, IRIS CARBON® allows roles (creator/reviewer) to be defined for each user. Access to certain parts of the FERC files being worked on can be allowed or restricted and filing efforts can be compartmentalized, as users see fit.
Version management & audit trail – All modifications made to data in FERC forms are recorded. Such a record facilitates the maintenance of a complete audit trail. Version management allows teams to go back to an older version of the document being worked upon. Rolling back changes is a lot quicker.
Commenting & review functions – Users can leave comments against particular data points on the FERC report to explain or highlight issues for the benefit of team members. Reviewing a document on IRIS CARBON® involves steps such as approving, rejecting, or signing off on sections of the document.
Dashboards with a bird’s-eye view – IRIS CARBON® offers a complete snapshot — a bird-eye view of the status of a FERC project. Teams can track schedules and check activities pending closure as well as track open and closed comments.
Roll-forward feature – IRIS CARBON®’s roll-forward feature allows the use of a previous filing as a base to prepare a future filing. This feature can save much valuable time for an issuer and speed up the FERC XBRL mandate compliance process.
Delve into this future with us today. Choose quality. Choose IRIS CARBON®.