XBRL or eXtensible Business Reporting Language is a structured data format in which many regulatory bodies, business directories, stock exchanges, and central banks around the world require financial and business disclosures from the companies or entities they oversee. XBRL allows the entities to apply machine-readable (XBRL) tags or labels against the numbers or information in their reports. This process makes the reports machine-readable. When rendered using XBRL software, these reports become highly interactive and easy to analyze and compare with peer company reports.
Before the XBRL-based filing system kicked in, US energy companies used to file their information to the FERC in PDF format. Data locked in a PDF file needs to be manually sifted through if any analysis or comparison needs to be carried out. With data now being submitted by the companies in a uniform, structured format, the FERC can validate, analyze, and process the data with ease. Moreover, external stakeholders of the FERC data can rest assured that the reported data is of high quality.