The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regulates natural gas and hydropower projects and the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil and electricity. FERC requires companies that fall under its regulatory oversight to use its accounting and financial reporting guidelines. The core of FERC accounting is the commission's Uniform System of Accounts, a set of requirements for the way companies maintain their accounting books and records.
The purpose of the Uniform System of Accounts is to ensure that corporations within the FERC-regulated industries are using a consistent approach to reporting financial information, such as in quarterly and annual reports, according to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. FERC provides regular guidance and interpretations on new and ongoing accounting issues that arise for companies. FERC requirements largely are based on the widely used General Accepted Accounting Principles.
In addition to GAAP, the FERC accounting practices include some requirements specific to utilities. For instance, the Uniform System of Accounts details how companies should specify which properties are used for utility services and which properties are used for non-utility purposes, and it details how companies should report plant investment costs. Definitions for common terms in the industry, such as regional market and public utility, ensure that companies use them consistently.