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4 Highlights from FERC XBRL Rule Finalization

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4 takeaways from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's XBRL requirements
October 13, 2020

On July 17, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued the order on finalizing XBRL® requirements for energy industry filers. In an industry where regulation is second nature, it may feel like just another set of complicated rules to work through. XBRL tagging may also be familiar territory to SEC filers, so you may think your current set of solutions has it covered. 

But we want to focus on a few highlights that came from the order from FERC and how organizations should be proceeding. 

1. The first FERC XBRL filing is set for reports for the third quarter of 2021.

When FERC was originally considering transitioning to XBRL filing, the target date was set for the end-of-year reports for 2020 (due in spring 2021). Given the timing of the decision and with COVID-19 still disrupting organizations, the commission decided to push back the first XBRL filing to reports for the third quarter of 2021—those forms are due in late 2021. 

Though that may seem like a ways off, now is a great time to start making plans for this important transition. There’s no excuse to be caught unprepared for changes to FERC reporting. 

2. There are taxonomy differences between SEC and FERC filing.

The commission considered several drafts of XBRL taxonomy, including input from industry leaders and a broad group of stakeholders as part of a technical conference this spring. The most complicated issue up for discussion was how to implement XBRL tagging for FERC forms 1, 1-F, 3-Q (electric), 2, 2-A, 3-Q (natural gas), 6, 6-Q, 60, and 714. 

FERC determined that the use of detailed tagging enhanced data analysis, enabled validation, and gave vendors (like Workiva) the tools necessary to deliver filing software that could provide information to FERC effectively. 

If you want to get into the technical details of the differences, we encourage you to download our two-page resource on the differences between FERC and SEC XBRL filing.

3. After the transition, companies should have a more effective filing format.

With the lack of maintenance on Visual FoxPro, there was a real risk that this outdated software could pose a serious future risk for energy companies’ filings. The transition to XBRL filing—and the solutions that use XBRL—should save you time, FERC says. You should also be able to validate the data more effectively and reduce manual data input errors. 

That said, a vast majority of your reporting time will still be focused on gathering information, but the format and software should be much less of an issue going forward.

4. FERC will continue to adjust the XBRL taxonomy.

Did we say the taxonomy was finalized? Well, it mostly is, but FERC anticipates there will be some technical updates toward the end of 2020 and another one in the spring of 2021. Those are just the anticipated changes, though. 

In advance of these changes, the commission will open up their Yeti review tool to view and comment on the updates as they are announced. FERC XBRL rules will continue to evolve and change, and that’s something organizations will need to stay up to date on.

If you’re looking for a quick guide to get up to speed on all things FERC reporting, download our e-book: 7 Things FERC Filers Should Know About XBRL Reporting.

XBRL® is a trademark of XBRL International, Inc. All rights reserved. The XBRL® standards are open and freely licensed by way of the XBRL International License Agreement.

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