FERC is the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (www.ferc.gov). In EPAct 2005 Congress granted the Commission enhanced authority to assess civil penalties for violations of the Federal Power Act (FPA), Natural Gas Act (NGA), and the Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA). EPAct 2005 made three major changes to the Commission's civil penalty authority.
1. Congress expanded the Commission's FPA civil penalty authority to cover violations of any provision of Part II of the FPA, as well as of any rule or order issued there under.
2. Congress extended the Commission's civil penalty authority to cover violations of the NGA or any rule, regulation, restriction, condition, or order made or imposed by the Commission under NGA authority.
3. Congress established the maximum civil penalty the Commission may assess under the NGA, NGPA, or Part II of the FPA as $1,000,000 per violation for each day that it continues.
In addition, Congress expanded the scope of the criminal provisions of the FPA, NGA, and NGPA by increasing the maximum fines and increasing the maximum imprisonment time that apply when the Commission refers the case to the Department of Justice for criminal prosecution.
The Commission, when possible, will negotiate civil penalties as part of a Stipulation and Consent Agreement resolving compliance issues. In such cases the civil penalty is imposed through a Commission order approving the negotiated agreement, obviating the need for an assessment process.