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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR Data is current as of September 30, 2014

Title 18Chapter ISubchapter A → Part 1b


Title 18: Conservation of Power and Water Resources


PART 1b—RULES RELATING TO INVESTIGATIONS


Contents
§1b.1   Definitions.
§1b.2   Scope.
§1b.3   Scope of investigations.
§1b.4   Types of investigations.
§1b.5   Formal investigations.
§1b.6   Preliminary investigations.
§1b.7   Procedure after investigation.
§1b.8   Requests for Commission investigations.
§1b.9   Confidentiality of investigations.
§1b.10   By whom conducted.
§1b.11   Limitation on participation.
§1b.12   Transcripts.
§1b.13   Powers of persons conducting formal investigations.
§1b.14   Subpoenas.
§1b.15   Non-compliance with compulsory processes.
§1b.16   Rights of witnesses.
§1b.17   Appearance and practice before the Commission.
§1b.18   Right to submit statements.
§1b.19   Submissions.
§1b.20   Request for confidential treatment.
§1b.21   Enforcement hotline.

Authority: 15 U.S.C. 717-717z, 3301-3432; 16 U.S.C. 792-828c, 2601-2645; 42 U.S.C. 7101-7352; 49 U.S.C. 60502; 49 App. U.S.C. 1-85 (1988); E.O. 12009, 3 CFR 1978 Comp., p. 142.

Source: 43 FR 27174, June 23, 1978, unless otherwise noted.

§1b.1   Definitions.

For purposes of this part—

(a) Formal investigation means an investigation instituted by a Commission Order of Investigation.

(b) Preliminary Investigation means an inquiry conducted by the Commission or its staff, other than a formal investigation.

(c) Investigating officer means the individual(s) designated by the Commission in an Order of Investigation as Officer(s) of the Commission.

(d) Enforcement Hotline is a forum in which to address quickly and informally any matter within the Commission's jurisdiction concerning natural gas pipelines, oil pipelines, electric utilities and hydroelectric projects.

[43 FR 27174, June 23, 1978, as amended by Order 602, 64 FR 17097, Apr. 8, 1999]

§1b.2   Scope.

This part applies to investigations conducted by the Commission but does not apply to adjudicative proceedings.

§1b.3   Scope of investigations.

The Commission may conduct investigations relating to any matter subject to its jurisdiction.

§1b.4   Types of investigations.

Investigations may be formal or preliminary, and public or private.

§1b.5   Formal investigations.

The Commission may, in its discretion, initiate a formal investigation by issuing an Order of Investigation. Orders of Investigation will outline the basis for the investigation, the matters to be investigated, the officer(s) designated to conduct the investigation and their authority. The director of the office responsible for the investigation may add or delete Investigating Officers in the Order of Investigation.

§1b.6   Preliminary investigations.

The Commission or its staff may, in its discretion, initiate a preliminary investigation. In such investigations, no process is issued or testimony compelled. Where it appears from the preliminary investigation that a formal investigation is appropriate, the staff will so recommend to the Commission.

§1b.7   Procedure after investigation.

Where it appears that there has been or may be a violation of any of the provisions of the acts administered by the Commission or the rules, opinions or orders thereunder, the Commission may institute administrative proceedings, initiate injunctive proceedings in the courts, refer matters, where appropriate, to the other governmental authorities, or take other appropriate action.

§1b.8   Requests for Commission investigations.

(a) Any individual, partnership, corporation, association, organization, or other Federal or State governmental entity, may request the Commission to institute an investigation.

(b) Requests for investigations should set forth the alleged violation of law with supporting documentation and information as completely as possible. No particular forms or formal procedures are requested.

(c) It is the Commission's policy not to disclose the name of the person or entity requesting an investigation except as required by law, or where such disclosure will aid the investigation.

§1b.9   Confidentiality of investigations.

All information and documents obtained during the course of an investigation, whether or not obtained pursuant to subpoena, and all investigative proceedings shall be treated as nonpublic by the Commission and its staff except to the extent that (a) the Commission directs or authorizes the public disclosure of the investigation; (b) the information or documents are made a matter of public record during the course of an adjudicatory proceeding; or (c) disclosure is required by the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552. Procedures by which persons submitting information to the Commission during the course of an investigation may specifically seek confidential treatment of information for purposes of Freedom of Information Act disclosure are set forth in 18 CFR part 3b and §1b.20. A request for confidential treatment of information for purposes of Freedom of Information Act disclosure shall not, however, prevent disclosure for law enforcement purposes or when disclosure is otherwise found appropriate in the public interest and permitted by law.

§1b.10   By whom conducted.

Formal Commission investigations are conducted by the Commission or by an individual(s) designated and authorized in the Order of Investigation. Investigating Officers are officers within the meaning of the statutes administered by the Commission and are authorized to perform the duties of their office in accordance with the laws of the United States and the regulations of the Commission. Investigating Officers shall have such duties as the Commission may specify in an Order of Investigation.

§1b.11   Limitation on participation.

There are no parties, as that term is used in adjudicative proceedings, in an investigation under this part and no person may intervene or participate as a matter of right in any investigation under this part.

[43 FR 27174, June 23, 1978, as amended by Order 756, 77 FR 4893, Feb. 1, 2012]

§1b.12   Transcripts.

Transcripts, if any, of investigative testimony shall be recorded solely by the official reporter, or by any other person or means designated by the investigating officer. A witness who has given testimony in an investigation shall be entitled, upon written request, to procure a transcript of the witness' own testimony on payment of the appropriate fees, except that in a non-public formal investigation, the office responsible for the investigation may for good cause deny such request. In any event, any witness or his counsel, upon proper identification, shall have the right to inspect the official transcript of the witness' own testimony.

[43 FR 27174, June 23, 1978, as amended by Order 225, 47 FR 19054, May 3, 1982; Order 756, 77 FR 4893, Feb. 1, 2012]

§1b.13   Powers of persons conducting formal investigations.

Any member of the Commission or the Investigating Officer, in connection with any formal investigation ordered by the Commission, may administer oaths and affirmations, subpoena witnesses, compel their attendance, take evidence, and require the production of any books, papers, correspondence, memoranda, contracts, agreements or other records relevant or material to the investigation.

§1b.14   Subpoenas.

(a) Service of a subpoena upon a person named therein shall be made by the investigating officer (1) by personal delivery, (2) by certified mail, (3) by leaving a copy thereof at the principle office or place of business of the person to be served, (4) or by delivery to any person designated as agent for service or the person's attorney.

(b) At the time for producing documents subpoenaed in an investigation, the subpoenaed party shall submit a statement stating that, if true, such person has made a diligent search for the subpoenaed documents and is producing all the documents called for by the subpoena. If any subpoenaed document(s) are not produced for any reason, the subpoenaed party shall state the reason therefor.

(c) If any subpoenaed documents in an investigation are withheld because of a claim of the attorney-client privilege, the subpoenaed party shall submit a list of such documents which shall, for each document, identify the attorney involved, the client involved, the date of the document, the person(s) shown on the document to have prepared and/or sent the document, and the person(s) shown on the document to have received copies of the document.

[43 FR 27174, June 23, 1978, as amended by Order 756, 77 FR 4893, Feb. 1, 2012]

§1b.15   Non-compliance with compulsory processes.

In cases of failure to comply with Commission compulsory processes, appropriate action may be initiated by the Commission or the Attorney General, including but not limited to actions for enforcement or the imposition of penalties.

§1b.16   Rights of witnesses.

(a) Any person who is compelled or requested to furnish documentary evidence or testimony in a formal investigation shall, upon request, be shown the Commission's Order of Investigation. Copies of Orders of Investigation shall not be furnished, for their retention, to such persons requesting the same except with the express approval of the director of the office responsible for the investigation. Such approval shall not be given unless the director of the office responsible for the investigation, in the director's discretion is satisfied that there exist reasons consistent with the protection of privacy of persons involved in the investigation and with the unimpeded conduct of the investigation.

(b) Any person compelled to appear, or who appears in person at a formal investigation by request or permission of the Investigating Officer may be accompanied, represented and advised by counsel, as provided by §385.2101 of this chapter and these rules, except that all witnesses shall be sequestered and, unless permitted in the discretion of the Investigating Officer, no witness or the counsel accompanying any such witness shall be permitted to be present during the examination of any other witness called in such proceeding. When counsel does represent more than one person in an investigation, for example, where the counsel is counsel to the witness and his employer, said counsel shall inform the Investigating Officer and each client of said counsel's possible conflict of interest in representing that client and, if said counsel appears with a witness giving testimony on the record in an investigation, counsel shall state on the record all persons said counsel represents in the investigation.

(c) Any witness may be accompanied, represented, and advised by counsel as follows:

(1) Counsel for a witness may advise the witness, in confidence, upon his initiative or the witness' with respect to any question, and if the witness refuses to answer a question, then the witness or counsel may briefly state on the record the legal grounds for such refusal.

(2) Where it is claimed that the witness has a privilege to refuse to answer a question on the grounds of self-incrimination, the witness must assert the privilege personally.

(3) Following completion of the examination of a witness, such witness may make a statement on the record and his counsel may on the record question the witness to enable the witness to clarify any of the witness' answers or to offer other evidence.

(4) The Investigating Officer shall take all necessary action to regulate the course of the proceeding to avoid delay and prevent or restrain obstructionist or contumacious conduct or contemptuous language. Such officer may report to the Commission any instances where an attorney or representative has refused to comply with his directions, or has engaged in obstructionist or contumacious conduct or has used contemptuous language in the course of the proceeding. The Commission may thereupon take such further action as the circumstances may warrant, including suspension or disbarment of counsel from further appearance or practice before it, in accordance with §385.2101 of this chapter, or exclusion from further participation in the particular investigation.

(d) Unless otherwise ordered by the Commission, in any public formal investigation, if the record shall contain implications of wrongdoing by any person, such person shall have the right to appear on the record; and in addition to the rights afforded other witnesses hereby, he shall have a reasonable opportunity of cross-examination and production of rebuttal testimony or documentary evidence. Reasonable shall mean permitting persons as full an opportunity to assert their position as may be granted consistent with administrative efficiency and with avoidance of undue delay. The determinations of reasonableness in each instance shall be made in the discretion of the investigating officer.

[43 FR 27174, June 23, 1978, as amended by Order 225, 47 FR 19054, May 3, 1982]

§1b.17   Appearance and practice before the Commission.

The provisions of subpart U of part 385 of this chapters are specifically applicable to all investigations.

[43 FR 27174, June 23, 1978, as amended by Order 225, 47 FR 19054, May 3, 1982]

§1b.18   Right to submit statements.

Any person may, at any time during the course of an investigation, submit documents, statements of facts or memoranda of law for the purpose of explaining said person's position or furnishing evidence which said person considers relevant regarding the matters under investigation.

§1b.19   Submissions.

In the event the Investigating Officer determines to recommend to the Commission that an entity be made the subject of a proceeding governed by part 385 of this chapter, or that an entity be made a defendant in a civil action to be brought by the Commission, the Investigating Officer shall, unless extraordinary circumstances make prompt Commission review necessary in order to prevent detriment to the public interest or irreparable harm, notify the entity that the Investigating Officer intends to make such a recommendation. Such notice shall provide sufficient information and facts to enable the entity to provide a response. Within 30 days of such notice, the entity may submit to the Investigating Officer a non-public response, which may consist of a statement of fact, argument, and/or memorandum of law, with such supporting documentation as the entity chooses, showing why a proceeding governed by part 385 of this chapter should not be instituted against said entity, or why said entity should not be made a defendant in a civil action brought by the Commission. If the response is submitted by the due date, the Investigating Officer shall present it to the Commission together with the Investigating Officer's recommendation. The Commission will consider both the Investigating Officer's recommendation and the entity's timely response in deciding whether to take further action.

[Order 711, 73 FR 29433, May 21, 2008]

§1b.20   Request for confidential treatment.

Any person compelled to produce documents in an investigation may claim that some or all of the information contained in a particular document(s) is exempt from the mandatory public disclosure requirements of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552), is information referred to in 18 U.S.C. 1905, or is otherwise exempt by law from public disclosure. In such case, the person making such claim shall, at the time said person produces the document to the officer conducting the investigation shall also produce a second copy of the document from which has been deleted the information for which the person wishes to claim confidential treatment. The person shall indicate on the original document that a request for confidential treatment is being made for some or all of the information in the document and shall file a statement specifying the specific statutory justification for non-disclosure of the information for which confidential treatment is claimed. General claims of confidentiality are not sufficient. Sufficient information must be furnished for the officer conducting the investigation, or other appropriate official, to make an informed decision on the request for confidential treatment. If the person states that the information comes within the exception in 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4) for trade secrets and commercial or financial information, the person shall include a statement specifying why the information is privileged or confidential. If the person filing a document does not submit a second copy of the document with the confidential information deleted, the Officer conducting the investigation may assume that there is no objection to public disclosure of the document in its entirety. The Commission retains the right to make the determination with regard to any claim of confidentiality. Notice of the decision by the investigating Officer or other appropriate official to deny a claim, in whole or in part, and an opportunity to respond shall be given to a person claiming confidentiality no less than 5 days before its public disclosure.

§1b.21   Enforcement hotline.

(a) The Hotline Staff may provide information to the public and give informal staff opinions. The opinions given are not binding on the General Counsel or the Commission.

(b) Except as provided for in paragraph (g) of this section, any person may seek information or the informal resolution of a dispute by calling or writing to the Hotline at the telephone number and address in paragraph (f) of this section. The Hotline Staff will informally seek information from the caller and any respondent, as appropriate. The Hotline Staff will attempt to resolve disputes without litigation or other formal proceedings. The Hotline Staff may not resolve matters that are before the Commission in docketed proceedings.

(c) All information and documents obtained through the Hotline Staff shall be treated as non-public by the Commission and its staff, consistent with the provisions of section 1b.9 of this part.

(d) Calls to the Hotline may be made anonymously.

(e) Any person who contacts the Hotline is not precluded from filing a formal action with the Commission if discussions assisted by Hotline Staff are unsuccessful at resolving the matter. A caller may terminate use of the Hotline procedure at any time.

(f) The Hotline may be reached by calling (202) 502-8390 or 1-888-889-8030 (toll free), by e-mail at hotline@ferc.gov, or writing to: Enforcement Hotline, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426.

(g) Any person affected by either the construction or operation of a certificated natural gas pipeline under the Natural Gas Act or by the construction or operation of a project under the Federal Power Act may seek the informal resolution of a dispute by calling or writing the Commission's Dispute Resolution Service. The Dispute Resolution Service may be reached by calling the DRS Helpline toll-free at 1-877-337-2237, or by e-mail at ferc.adr@ferc.gov, or writing to: Dispute Resolution Service, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426.

(h) Any person who contacts the Dispute Resolution Service Helpline is not precluded from filing a formal action with the Commission if discussions assisted by the Dispute Resolution Service staff are unsuccessful at resolving the matter. A caller may terminate the use of alternative dispute resolution procedures at any time.

[Order 602, 64 FR 17097, Apr. 8, 1999, as amended by Order 647, 69 FR 32438, June 10, 2004; Order 734, 75 FR 21505, Apr. 26, 2010]



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