E&E News Quotes David Applebaum on Possible Changes in FERC Enforcement Actions

David Applebaum, co-head of the energy regulation, markets and enforcement practice at Akin Gump, has been quoted in the E&E News article “Big changes may be in the offing for FERC enforcement,” which looks at whether the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been changing the way it conducts enforcement actions.

In the latest fiscal year, the article reports, FERC finalized five settlements and closed 11 other investigations with a finding of no violation. That’s the lowest ratio of settlements to cases closed since the agency started publishing annual enforcement reports in 2007.

But Applebaum, who formerly worked in FERC’s Office of Enforcement, said, “The enforcement staff, both in the analytics group and the investigations group, is largely the same as it was several years ago and will be expected to be pretty similar over the next few years. There’s typically not that much turnover. The staff can be expected to approach investigations analytically ... in similar ways going forward as they have in the past.”

The article notes that the growing number of entities, subject to investigations, that are choosing to fight in court could force FERC’s hand. Earlier this year, Applebaum and Akin Gump counsel Todd Brecher wrote on the AG Speaking Energy blog, “subjects of enforcement actions are increasingly deciding to litigate cases rather than settle with FERC — particularly when major civil penalty and disgorgement amounts are at stake.”

Applebaum and Todd Brecher, another Akin Gump lawyer, wrote in February that "subjects of enforcement actions are increasingly deciding to litigate cases rather than settle with FERC — particularly when major civil penalty and disgorgement amounts are at stake."