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FERC OKs Standards of Conduct Settlement for Westar Energy

FERC last Tuesday approved a stipulation and consent agreement between FERC's Office of Market Oversight and Investigations' Division of Enforcement and Westar Energy Inc. that imposes a detailed, three-year plan designed to prevent future violations of FERC standards of conduct, including improper sharing of transmission information and incomplete posting of data on Westar's OASIS website.

The agreement resolves all issues in a non-public, formal investigation conducted by FERC staff [IN03-2-000]. The investigation concerned alleged violations of certain aspects of the Federal Power Act (FPA), the Commission's then-effective standards of conduct for electric transmission providers and certain other Commission regulations and policies. Westar neither admits nor denies that its actions violated the FPA or the Commission's regulations and policies.

FERC said that the facts stipulated in the agreement concern certain transmission information disclosures by transmission employees of Westar to a business manager operating as a wholesale merchant employee, and certain inadequate postings regarding the business manager's activities, and other matters, on Westar's OASIS website.

The investigation also examined certain trades with Cleco Corp. whereby Westar served as an intermediary between two Cleco affiliates attempting to evade the Commission's requirement that interaffiliate trades be approved by the Commission, and pre-arranged, offsetting trades between Westar and a third party and then back to itself. FERC staff found no actionable violations by Westar resulting from such trades.

The agreement contains a remedies section consisting of a compliance plan. Specifically, Westar will implement a compliance plan to ensure that Westar stays in full compliance with Commission rules and regulations. The compliance plan shall remain in effect for three years.

The plan includes detailed procedures whereby Westar agrees to have its Order No. 2004 Chief Compliance Officer (CCO):

The agreement does not address or resolve issues pending in any other docketed matters.

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