SolarCity Settles Grant Fraud Allegations

In another reminder that doing business with the federal government presents unique risks, on September 22, 2017, the U.S. Justice Department announced that SolarCity Corporation had agreed to pay $29.5 million to resolve the government’s allegations that SolarCity and related entities had violated the Civil False Claims Act. (31 U.S.C. § 3729.) The allegations and settlement stem from federal grants for renewable energy projects under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. (Public Law 111-5.) Accordingly to DOJ’s press release, beginning in 2009, SolarCity...

A Call to Focus on Strengthening Grid Resilience and Reliability: DOE Staff Report Offers Timely Insights on Fundamental Market Changes

The U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”) recently released its highly-anticipated Staff Report to the Secretary on Electricity Markets and Reliability . The report weighs heavily on the themes of focusing on grid resilience and reliability in light of recent fundamental changes in the sources of generation. The report is definitely worth reading for those working in the electric industry and is a data-driven analysis of the varied and complex factors that have led to today’s structured electricity markets in which coal-fired generation has substantially diminished, gas-fired generation has...

U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Report - August 2017

The Bracewell U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Report is a monthly report that provides summaries of certain disciplinary notices by U.S. exchanges during the prior month. The report has a particular focus on notices potentially relevant to energy commodities and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of each and every notice issued. Instead, the report is intended to provide market participants, and compliance personnel in particular, with illustrative examples of rule violations and to bring to light enforcement trends across the exchanges. CBOT CBOT 15-0231-BC Disruptive...

Navigating Texas Regulations During Hurricane Harvey: TCEQ Executive Director's Regulatory Guidance and Governor Abbott's Disaster Proclamation Provide Potential Relief

A series of decisions between the Governor's office and the Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ("TCEQ") has resulted in the suspension of a number of state environmental rules relating to a broad range of areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey, to the extent that the rules prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the disaster. The rules covered by the suspension include rules governing the reporting and recordkeeping requirements for unauthorized emissions, visible emissions limits and outdoor burning prohibitions, low-emission-fuel requirements,...

New Commission Approves City Power Manipulation Settlement

Yesterday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order approving a settlement agreement between FERC’s Office of Enforcement and City Power Marketing, LLC, and its owner, K. Stephen Tsingas (together, City Power). The order resolves the Commission’s claims that City Power violated FERC’s anti-manipulation rule and its rule requiring truthful communications with the Commission. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Tsingas agreed to pay a $1.42M civil penalty and $1.3M in disgorgement, and City Power must pay a $9M civil penalty. FERC initially had sought a civil...

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