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Apr 29, 2021 HData Team

How to turn FERC data into business intelligence


HData delivers instant insights from energy sector data by automatically calculating industry-specific Key Performance Indicators (KPI)s.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s adoption of XBRL means every number becomes individually searchable and downloadable. HData Hub, developed by financial analytics market leader idaciti, is the only compliance platform that allows energy companies to analyze the newly released regulatory data, automatically calculate metrics and KPIs, and save searches which run continuously and update as new filings come in.

The Data Hub offers users access to explore and compare data from FERC filings, which, up until now, has not been available anywhere else. Most importantly, the Data Hub enables energy companies, regulators, and investors to leverage and derive insights from publicly available information without countless wasted hours copying and pasting numbers from documents.

For example, here’s a quick chart of Net Income as reported by 21 electric utilities during the same periods from 2010 to 2020, created using the Data Hub. Without the Data Hub, this chart would have required a user to separately search for 840 different PDF documents on the FERC’s website, download each of them, wade through dozens of pages, find the correct line items within balance sheets, transcribe those numbers to a spreadsheet, and create an edit a visualization. The Data Hub accomplished this in a few seconds.



Here are just a few energy sector KPIs that can be automatically compiled, surfaced, and shared using HData Hub:

For Electric Utilities: Rate Base

Rate base is the value of the assets from which a utility provides electric or natural gas service, and upon which the company is allowed to earn a rate of return. It includes generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure. For example, the calculation would include the value of a power plant but exclude the value of an office building. The ability to calculate rate base is key in the determination of a utility's revenue requirement. Given a utility’s rate base, state regulators permit the utility to earn a certain rate of return on their assets.

For example, in 2018 Unitil’s rate base was $359 million. Portland General’s was $9.5 billion. NV Energy’s was $4.5 billion. The HData Hub calculated these numbers in seconds.

For Electric Utilities: Transmission Line Cost Per Mile

Electric utilities compare their efficiency, among other ways, by tracking their transmission line maintenance costs per mile of transmission line. The HData Hub can automatically pull transmission line maintenance expense and transmission line miles from FERC Forms and divide the one by the other, deriving a key efficiency KPI in seconds.

Former FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff joined HData CEO Hudson Hollister to discuss how the HData Hub can help utilities, pipeline companies, regulators, and others by applying data analytics to FERC form data:


For Oil Pipelines: Expenses Per Barrel Mile

Oil pipelines gauge their efficiency against competitors’ by tracking operating expenses against their throughput, tracked in barrel miles. The HData Hub can track operating expenses divided by barrel mile for every FERC-regulated pipeline. Oil pipelines sometimes remove property taxes from this calculation in order to minimize the impact of jurisdiction-specific considerations on efficiency; the Data Hub can handle that, too. 

For Oil Pipelines: Maintenance Expense Per Pipeline Mile

As a measure of the maintenance costs of a pipeline’s physical infrastructure, the HData Hub can automatically calculate maintenance expenses divided by miles of pipe.

For All FERC Filers: Cost Allocation

Changes in cost allocation, particularly large proportional changes, can be potential red flags for regulators. For example, if an electric utility’s maintenance expenses decreased during a time period of extreme weather, a regulator might suspect that the utility overstated those expenses in previous periods. The HData Hub can be configured to automatically surface such anomalies - so that you can notice them before your regulators do.

Published by HData Team April 29, 2021