Friday, February 28, 2014

FERC sets New Deadlines for the Web-Based Filing of Electronic Quarterly Reports

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On February 28, 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order extending and setting the deadlines to file electric quarterly reports (EQRs) for the third quarter (Q3) 2013, the fourth quarter (Q4) 2013 and the first quarter (Q1) 2014. FERC also reminded EQR filers that the deadline to file the second quarter (Q2) 2014 EQRs has not been extended.
FERC set the EQR filing periods as follows:
  • Q3 2013 EQRs must be filed between April 1, 2014 and April 30, 2014
  • Q4 2013 EQRs must be filed between May 1, 2014 and May 31, 2014
  • Q1 2014 EQRs must be filed between June 1, 2014 and June 30, 2014
  • Q2 2014 EQRs must be filed between July 1, 2014 and July 31, 2014, the normal filing period
All subsequent EQRs also must be filed during their normal filing periods.
FERC recognized the need for EQR filers to become proficient with the new electronic EQR filing system and stated that it would not assess penalties against parties that make best efforts for Q3 2013, Q4 2013 and Q1 2014 EQRs. While FERC did not specifically define “best efforts,” it did encourage parties to file early in each filing period and use the “Test-Only” functionality to address issues before the filing deadline.
As a reminder, FERC Order Nos. 768 and 768-A require non-jurisdictional market participants, such as municipal agencies and electric cooperatives, to file EQRs beginning with the Q3 2013 EQRs if they have more than a de minimis market presence. Additional EQR updates are available on the FERC EQR webpage.
If you have questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this article, please feel free to contact us.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The CFTC Grants Temporary Regulatory Relief to the Southwest Power Pool and Integrated Marketplace Participants

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On February 20, 2014, the staff of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a No-Action letter temporarily removing a regulatory barrier to Southwest Power Pool’s (SPP) planned March 1, 2014 launch of its Integrated Marketplace.

The No-Action letter is a stop-gap measure that will expire on the earlier of August 31, 2014 or when the CFTC issues its final order on SPP’s application for exemption from full CFTC regulation. Last year, the CFTC issued an order permanently granting similar requests for exemption from other organized wholesale electric markets. The No-Action letter states that Market Participants in the Integrated Marketplace must qualify in any one of three categories (including being in the electric energy business) and the transactions must fall into specified categories in order to be eligible for the reduced regulatory burden. The No-Action letter states that these conditions are identical to the conditions in the order issued last year.

In both the No-Action letter and the prior order, the CFTC explicitly retained jurisdiction to police market fraud and manipulation relating to the organized markets.

If you have questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this article, please feel free to contact us.

2014 Arizona-Mexico Commission Plenary Session Recap

By Patrick F.Welch, Attorney, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon

Sonora Governor Guillermo Padrés and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer hosted the 2014 Arizona-Mexico Commission Plenary Session in Hermosillo, Sonora Mexico on February 6-7, 2014. This year's theme was "Energy Transforms Arizona and Sonora." The semi-annual event serves as a platform for meaningful international collaboration between the two states, with the ultimate goal of strengthening their bilateral partnership and enhancing the economic growth and quality of life in the Arizona-Sonora region.

The Financial, Business and Legal Services Committee included several presentations, including discussion on the CANAMEX corridor and its Importance to the Arizona and Sonora Region, by Gail Lewis, Director, Office of P3 Initiatives and International Affairs, Arizona Department of Transportation; Mexican Tax Reform and its Impact on both National and Foreign Investments, by Humberto Garcia Borbon, a tax partner at Garcia Gutierrez Garagorri and Associates S.C; Mexican Tax Shelter Program as a Manufacturing Operation, by Raul Leyva, President of the Maquiladora Association of Sonora; and Energy Reform and Benefits for the Renewable Energy Sector in Mexico, by Antonio Astiazaran Gutierrez of Engeria Sonora S.C.

The presentations offered attendees a unique opportunity to better understand how government agencies, business working groups, and the private sector can work together to promote economic development, trade and investment between the States of Arizona and Sonora. The discussion led by Gail Lewis on the CANAMEX Project, a broad reaching plan with an objective of creating a direct trade route from Canada to Mexico, demonstrated the importance of the CANAMEX corridor to promotion of regional trade between Arizona and Sonora. This initiative is being supported for its development and implementation by the states en-route for this plan, which include Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. The CANAMEX corridor plan has been created from carefully managed studies by various organizations and agencies. Private businesses renewed interest in highway infrastructure improvements between Nogales and Tucson, Arizona presents an excellent opportunity for increased economic development for Arizona and Sonora based businesses moving product across the U.S. / Mexican border. The improvements would also support increased tourism for both states, as travel along the highway route would be more efficient. To fully capture the potential of these improvements, infrastructure improvements along Mexican Federal Highway 15, a primary north-south highway in Mexico connecting Nogales, Arizona with many important economic centers within the State of Sonora, are also needed. Beatriz Martinez Haro, Investment Promoter with the State of Sonora, discussed this in her presentation hosted by the Arizona-Mexico Commission’s Economic Development Committee.

One of the highlights of the Plenary Session was a luncheon, which included remarks by Governors Brewer and Padrés. During the luncheon, Committee Chairs also reviewed the objectives achieved during the year by their respective committee, and the committee’s goals moving forward in 2014.

Mr. Welch is licensed to practice in the States of Arizona and Nevada, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He focuses his practice in the areas of general and complex commercial litigation, construction litigation, fidelity and surety litigation, and U.S./Mexico cross-border business transactions and litigation. Mr. Welch is fluent in English and Spanish, and is a member of the Arizona-Mexico Commission.

Mr. Welch has been featured in articles on cross-border trade between Arizona and Sonora.

Law Talk Wednesday: Mediation in a Divorce Process

Norma Izzo Milner discusses the benefits of mediation in a divorce process. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Client Alert: The Agricultural Act of 2014

On February 7, 2014, a new five-year farm bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014, was signed into law. Attorneys Wayne Smith and Brian Imbornoni break down how the bill affects farmers and ranchers. They discuss new changes to crop insurance, food stamps, livestock indemnity payments and more. 

Read the client alert here.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Legal Pitfalls of Guaranteeing Bonds for Another Contractor

Jennings Strouss attorney Jay Mann discusses the considerable risk a large contractor can experience when guaranteeing bonds for smaller contractors in the February 2014 edition of Construction Executive. 

Read the full article here.

Jay Mann focuses his practice in the areas of construction, surety and fidelity law. In addition, Mr. Mann represents clients in other commercial litigation matters and serves as an arbitrator and mediator.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Brian Imbornoni Discusses Farm Bill with KAWC

Jennings Strouss attorney Brian Imbornoni speaks to KAWC’s Maya Springhawk Robnett about the Farm Bill and its potential impact on Arizona's agriculture industry.

Listen to the segment here:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014