David Applebaum Quoted on FERC Emphasis, Composition Under Trump

Akin Gump energy regulation, markets and enforcement partner David Applebaum was quoted by Inside FERC on possible changes at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the incoming Trump administration.

Applebaum, who served as director of the Office of Investigations in the Office of Enforcement at FERC, said that filling three seats open for Republicans next year would be a significant change.

He did note, however, that, insofar as “outright fraud, lying, cheating, misrepresenting and those kinds of things as well as related position cases where you’re moving physical prices to affect, say, a derivative,” he did not see major changes as likely, adding, “Enforcement is going to continue to bring those cases, and I don’t see a reason to think that the new commission is going to look differently on those cases.”

Applebaum pointed at the possibility that there could be changes in “gaming” cases FERC has investigated and brought in electric markets, noting “Those cases are sometimes harder to define, and the law is not as clear on that.” He expects that a new set of commissioners would study those cases and decide what falls within “gaming” and when to bring those cases.

He closed by noting that FERC’s workload in 2017 will likely be significant based on the Commission’s annual report on enforcement.