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Links Technology Wins STC Awards for PowerShark EQR Training Videos and User Guide

Links Technology has been recognized in the Chicago Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication annual publications competition for outstanding work on the PowerShark EQR User Guide and Training Videos. Products that receive the STC awards show exceptional performance according to a list of standards that STC has established over decades as benchmarks in the technical communication field. STC is the world’s largest and oldest professional association dedicated to the advancement of the field of technical communication.

“We have been excited to provide our customers with these materials to help simplify the EQR filing process and these awards serve to confirm that we have met our goal,” says Gary Kravis, Links’ Director of Software Solutions, who collaborated with instructional designer Mary Whalen to create the user guide and training videos.

The PowerShark EQR User Guide received an award of “Excellence,” which STC describes as “Entry consistently meets high standards in all or most areas,” and the PowerShark EQR Training Videos received an award of “Distinguished,” which STC describes as “Entry meets or exceeds high standards in all areas.”

Other Links Technology clients will be able to enjoy the same level of training experience, as Links will soon release training videos for its TariffShark product line. “There are videos for all levels of users to expand their use of TariffShark and perform more efficiently,” says Gary Kravis.

New FERC Updates for PowerShark EQR

During the evening of April 17, 2014, FERC updated its online EQR system to version 2.8.  FERC has made the release notes available here.  The change that would most directly impact PowerShark EQR is the addition of the following Balancing Authorities:

 

  • BANC   Balancing Authority of Northern California
  • BRAZ    CECD, LLC
  • CSTO    CECD, LLC
  • EAI       Entergy Arkansas, Inc.
  • NSSO   Nova Scotia Power System Operator
  • SPRM   City Utilities of Springfield
  • WWA    CECD, LLC

 

It turns out that FERC had erroneously removed these balancing authorities from the EQR XML schema in March 2014 and this release restores them to the schema.  Back in March, Links Technology recognized that their removal had been accidental and included them in PowerShark EQR.  Therefore, no changes are necessary in PowerShark EQR.  As of this writing, PowerShark EQR release 1.2 is fully compliant.

New PowerShark EQR Release Available

Links Technology Solutions, Inc. is excited to announce the immediate availability of PowerShark EQR Release 1.1.  Since its initial release last month, PowerShark EQR has quickly been adopted by many utilities who were looking for a simple yet powerful and affordable solution.

CURRENT POWERSHARK EQR CUSTOMERS: Please visit the download area to access the latest 1.1 release.

POTENTIAL POWERSHARK EQR CUSTOMERS:  Please contact Bob VanValkenburg at bobv@linkstechnology.com to inquire about a demo and/or a free trial of PowerShark EQR.

Purchase or upgrade today to gain all of these benefits from the latest release:

Overall application and database changes

  • Latest FERC XML changes support
  • Latest FERC lookup values
  • Database performance improvements
  • Various application bug fixes, stability and performance improvements
  • Validation rules fixes and additions
  • Improved default mapper files with support for multiple date formats
  • Improved multi-user experience

New features

  • Generate XML for FERC submission
  • Import and Export of data
  • Lock/Unlock EQR
  • Control over maximum Document size and allowed file extensions
  • Simplified Copy Data function
  • Multiple date formats value resolver
  • Enabled editing of Batch Notes in Transaction Batches History module
  • New Bulk Update Tools added
  • Extension Provision Description in the Contracts module
  • a multiplier may be applied to numeric Transaction fields

Technical requirements changes

  • Added support for Windows 8.1
  • Added support for SQL Server 2008

e-Tag Reporting in the EQR

On February 8, 2013, FERC granted an extension of time for including e-Tag data in the EQRs until after FERC Staff prepare a status report, which is due within one year (unless the Commission takes prior action in the proceeding). According to FERC, “ this extension will allow the Commission more time to fully assess the benefits and burdens associated with market participants linking e-Tag ID information and transactions in the EQR considering other recent data collection efforts.”

On September 21, 2012, FERC issued Order No. 768, which, among other things, revised the EQR data fields by adding a requirement to report e-Tag information. Requests for rehearing and/or clarification of Order No. 768 were filed by industry participants, along with requests for an immediate stay of the e-Tag ID reporting requirement.

It should be noted that this order does not affect the compliance date for any other aspects of Order No. 768.

EQR Technical Conference Recap

On December 12, 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission held an EQR Technical Conference relating to Order No. 768. The conference was broken into two separate sessions. The morning session covered introductory and background information about EQR including pre-order 768 data requirements. In the afternoon session, FERC staff reviewed changes to the filing requirements as set forth in Order No. 768. For those who missed the conference, the PowerPoint slides presented during the conference are available here.

At the conference, FERC staff announced that a separate technical conference relating to Order No. 770 will be held in Q1 2013.

A big THANKS to all who attended the PowerShark EQR Social following FERC’s conference. It was great to meet you all and learn about your EQR requirements.

FERC Issues EQR Final Rule

On Thursday, November 15, 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Final Rule regarding Revisions to Electric Quarterly Report Filing Process under docket RM12-3.  In summary, it confirms the following items from the June 21, 2012 NOPR:

  • A web-based approach will be used for filing EQRs.
  • Public and non-public utilities can either file directly through the Commission’s website via a web interface or by submitting an Extensible Mark-Up Language-formatted file.
  • EQR submissions must include a company identification number to identify the public or non-public utility making the submission.
  • The changes to the process for filing EQRs will apply to EQR filings beginning with the third quarter 2013 EQR, which will provide data for July through September 2013.

The full text of the Final Rule is available here.

EQR Technical Conference

At the July 11 Technical Conference on the upcoming EQR software changes, FERC described the two filing options that will be available for future filings beginning approximately Q3 2013.

The first filing option is a web browser-based platform that is intended to be functionally similar to the current FoxPro filing software. At the Technical Conference the following highlights were covered for the web browser-based option:

  • As demonstrated in the screenshots included in the presentation provided below, the data fields are the same as the current filing system, but the contract and transaction data review capabilities are limited to a single line at a time – which may be more burdensome than the existing software.
  • The contact, contracts and transaction data can be hand entered or uploaded using CSV or XML formats through one or multiple files similar to the current filing system.
  • No software will need to be downloaded and a Windows-based computer will no longer be required.
  • The data will be validated before the submittal stage, however, it is unclear (i) how thorough the pre-submission validation checks will be; (ii) how the validation error messages will be provided; and (iii) whether they will include links to the applicable data to streamline the correction process.

The second option is an XML filing platform similar to the current eTariff filing system. FERC Staff implied that the XML option would provide greater flexibility for data review and validation. At the Technical Conference the following highlights were covered for the XML option:

  • The XML schema is going to have built-in validations (unlike eTariff).
  • A separate XML schema will be provided for look-up values (unlike eTariff).
  • FERC will offer a Sandbox for pre-submission validation (similar to eTariff).
  • The draft XML schemas will be available in the near future at www.FERC.gov.

In addition to these two filing options, FERC Staff also provided an overview of the new web viewer that will be available to the public to access previously filed data. Screenshots of the new viewer are available at the FERC Presentation link provided below. The ability to file single EQRs for multiple companies was discussed, and FERC Staff indicated that the new system would not differ from the current system in this regard. FERC Staff declined to give an update on the timing of the other EQR NOPRs related to the data dictionary changes and the collection of eTag data.

FERC Presentation: http://www.ferc.gov/EventCalendar/Files/20120710122631-EQR%20Redesign_7-11-2012.pdf