FERC issued an order on May 16 rescinding its 2009 policy of issuing Notices of Alleged Violations (NAVs) after the subject of an investigation is given an opportunity to respond to FERC Enforcement Staff’s preliminary findings (the NAV Policy). NAVs typically identify FERC’s targets (by name), and set forth abbreviated information concerning the subject matter of FERC’s enforcement attention, the time frame, and the particular statutes relevant to the alleged violations. Since FERC began implementing the NAV Policy in 2011, it has been monitoring its implementation and has now determined that the potential adverse consequences that NAVs pose for the subjects of FERC investigations are no longer justified in light of the limited transparency that NAVs provide.
A few years after FERC received enhanced enforcement authority in 2005, it instituted the NAV Policy to increase the transparency of the nonpublic investigations that its Staff conducts under Part 1b of FERC’s regulations. When it issued the NAV Order, FERC explained that issuing the NAVs after the preliminary findings stage balances “the need to protect the subject’s confidentiality in the early stages of an investigation with the public interest of promoting additional transparency during investigations.” FERC has since determined that NAVs provide only limited guidance and information to market participants and that the various orders on enforcement matters and the reports and white papers its Staff issues are more informative and provide more transparency.