The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has come under fire for the nuanced lists of exemptions it has offered to various firms and groups as it implements some portions of Dodd Frank legislation that require greater transparency and tighter limits on hedging and trading of the derivatives it oversees.

Included in this group have been certain “natural” players perceived as having an inherent physical position in a relevant commodity and therefore less likely to game the market without regard for fundamental supply and demand or to hold dangerously large positions. Also included as of this week are public power companies and cooperative utilities, which have been exempted from all but the anti-fraud, anti-manipulation and record inspection provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act when it comes to energy transactions.

The American Public Power Association said: “The exemption stems from a provision of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that directed the CFTC to exempt transactions between public power and cooperative utilities if it were found to be in the public interest. Transactions between these consumer-owned utilities were singled out for an exemption because they operate on a not-for-profit basis for the benefit of their consumers. The CFTC made this public interest finding in a proposed order, issued in August 2012, and confirmed it in this final order.”

Importantly, the finding is retroactive to the passage of Dodd Frank, which means publicly owned utilities will not have to review their past transactions and determine if they fit the higher standards.

For much more on the complex subject, visit the APPA site here and the CFTC site here. Read more about futures regulation on Breaking Energy here.