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Adjusting For Inflation, FERC Raises Maximum Civil Penalties

FERC issued an interim final rule Wednesday [RM-16-16] increasing maximum civil penalties for violations of federal statutes under its jurisdiction.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s action came in response to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, a law passed amending a previous inflation adjustment passed in 1990.

The interim rule ups FERC’s maximum civil penalties for violations of the Federal Power Act (FPA), the Natural Gas Act (NGA), the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 (NGPA) and the Interstate Commerce Act (ICA). Increases were limited to 150% of the civil monetary penalty in effect as of Nov. 2, 2015.

FERC increased its maximum penalty authority under section 22 of the NGA and section 504(b)(6)(A)(i) of the NGPA from $1,000,000 per violation per day to $1,193,970.

Maximum penalties for violations of section 16(8) of the ICA were increased from $5,000 per violation per day to $12,500. For violations of section 19a(k) and 20(7)(a) the maximum penalties were increased from $500 per offense per day to $1,250. For violations of section 6(10) of the ICA, the maximum penalty was increased from $500 per offense and $25 per day after the first day to $1,250 and $62.50, respectively.

Under the FPA, the maximum penalty for violations of section 316A was increased from $1,000,000 per violation per day to $1,193,970. For violations of section 31(c), the max penalty was increased from $11,000 per violation per day to $21,563. For section 315(a), the maximum penalty was increased from $1,100 per violation to $2,750.

The interim final rule takes effect on the date of publication in the Federal Register.

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