At its May 19, 2022, Open Meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) on potential changes as to how natural gas pipelines submit supporting statements, schedules, and workpapers when filing a Natural Gas Act (NGA) Section 4 rate case.
A pipeline submits an NGA Section 4 rate case filing when it seeks Commission approval to change rates. When a natural gas pipeline files to change its rates, the Commission requires the pipeline to provide detailed support for all components of the pipeline’s cost of service.
Pursuant to NGA Section 4, the Commission is now proposing a rule requiring natural gas pipelines to submit all statements, schedules, and work papers in native format (e.g., Excel) with formulas and links intact when filing a general NGA Section 4 rate case. The proposed rule was requested by the American Gas Association, American Public Gas Association, American Forest & Paper Association, Industrial Energy Consumers of America, Process Gas Consumers Group, and Natural Gas Supply Association in a June 24, 2021, petition filed at FERC.
The Commission states that the rule, if implemented, would ensure that all parties in an NGA Section 4 rate have immediate access to the information needed to conduct rate reviews and analyses of pipelines’ rate case filings.
FERC has stated previously that notice and comment procedures do not apply when rules concern only matters of agency procedure, as opposed to changing substantive rights. Hence, it is questionable whether FERC needed to initiate the NOPR process to make the proposed rule change sought by the trade associations. Regardless, comments on the NOPR are due within 30 days after the NOPR’s date of publication in the Federal Register and should cite Docket No. RM21-18-000.