Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
1. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) is proposing to amend its regulations at 18 CFR 154.402 to revise the filing requirements for natural gas pipelines that choose to recover Commission-assessed annual charges through an annual charge adjustment (ACA) clause. Currently, natural gas pipelines utilizing an ACA clause must make a tariff filing to reflect a revised ACA unit charge authorized by the Commission for that fiscal year. In order to reduce the regulatory burden on these pipelines, the Commission proposes to eliminate this annual filing requirement. In its place, the Commission proposes to require natural gas pipelines utilizing an ACA clause to incorporate the Commission-authorized annual charge unit rate by reference to that rate, as published on the Commission's Web site located at
2. The Commission is required to "assess and collect fees and annual charges in any fiscal year in amounts equal to all of the costs incurred by the Commission in that fiscal year."
3. The provisions governing the assessment of annual charges are codified in Part 382 of the Commission's regulations.
4. Pipelines are entitled to recover these annual charges from their customers, and they have two options for doing so. First, upon Commission approval, a Pipeline may adjust its rates annually to recover the annual charges through an ACA clause.
5. Order No. 472 recognized that although the Commission generally disfavors the use of tracking mechanisms, it is appropriate that Pipelines be permitted to pass through these annual charges directly to customers.
The ACA clause must be filed with the Commission and indicate the amount of annual charges to be flowed through per unit of energy sold or transported (ACA unit charge). The ACA unit charge will be specified by the Commission at the time the Commission calculates the annual charge bills. A company must reflect the ACA unit charge in each of its rate schedules applicable to sales or transportation deliveries. The company must apply the ACA unit charge to the usage component of rate schedules with two-part rates. A company may recover annual charges through an ACA unit charge only if its rates do not otherwise reflect the costs of annual charges assessed by the Commission under SS 382.106(a) of this chapter. The applicable annual charge, required by SS 382.103 of this chapter, must be paid before the company applies the ACA unit charge.
6. Pipelines that seek to recover annual charges through an ACA clause must file a tariff record containing the following:
(1) A statement that the company is collecting an ACA per unit charge, as approved by the Commission, applicable to
7. Each year the Commission sets the ACA unit charge for the natural gas program in July.
8. In 2011, the Commission received 134 filings to reflect the annual change in the ACA unit charge. In years in which the ACA unit charge does not change, there are fewer filings. However, some Pipelines, such as those that have recently gone into service and have been billed an annual charge, are still permitted to submit a filing to the Commission in order to pass along the annual charge to their customers.
9. In an effort to reduce the regulatory burden associated with annual tariff filings to reflect the current year's ACA unit charge, the Commission proposes to eliminate the annual filing requirement for Pipelines utilizing an ACA clause. In its place, the Commission proposes to require Pipelines utilizing an ACA clause to incorporate the Commission-authorized ACA unit rate by reference to that rate, as published on the Commission's Web site. Accordingly, Pipelines that wish to continue utilizing an ACA clause would be required to make a one-time tariff revision that incorporates the ACA unit charge published on the Commission's Web site into the Pipeline's tariff as the ACA unit charge for the relevant fiscal year.
10. In proposing this change, the Commission is aware that in addition to the basic statutory requirement that all rates and charges be on file with the Commission,
11. Because the annual filing requirement would be eliminated under the proposed reform and no longer serve these functions, the Commission's proposal is designed to replicate them. Accordingly, the Commission proposes to require Pipelines utilizing an ACA clause to incorporate by reference into their tariffs the ACA unit charge specified in the annual notice issued by the Commission entitled "FY [Year] Gas Annual Charges Correction for Annual Charges Unit Charge." This ACA unit charge shall be effective on the first day of October following issuance of this notice and shall extend to the last day of September the following year (i.e., the duration of the fiscal year). However, the ACA unit charge shall only be incorporated by reference into the Pipeline's tariff, and thereby assessed to shippers, if the Pipeline has paid its annual assessment, as reflected on a new notice, entitled "Payment Status of Pipeline Billings--FY [Year]," that the Commission will issue each year. This notice will identify the Pipelines that have been assessed annual charges for a fiscal year and indicate whether they have paid their bills and are, therefore, authorized to recover the ACA unit charge from shippers. The Commission will issue the "Payment Status of Pipeline Billings--FY [Year]" notice on the last business day of the fiscal year, and provide updates as necessary. All of the documents can be found on the Annual Charges page of the Natural Gas section of the Commission's Web site, located at
12. We emphasize that the only thing changed by this Proposed Rule is the filing requirement for those Pipelines that utilize an ACA clause. This Proposed Rule does not prevent Pipelines from continuing to recover annual charges assessed by the Commission through their transportation rates, as established in a general rate case. Nor does this Proposed Rule modify how the Commission calculates the costs of the natural gas regulatory program or how the ACA unit charge is calculated or assessed.
13. We are taking this action as part of our commitment to continually review our regulations and eliminate those requirements that impose an unnecessary burden on regulated entities. We find that our proposal to have Pipelines incorporate the ACA unit charge by reference to the notices published on the Commission's Web site will retain all of the transparency and consumer safeguards embodied in the Commission's existing regulations. However, it will eliminate approximately 145 filings each year, thereby reducing the regulatory burden on the Pipelines and the Commission.
14. The Commission proposes that Pipelines be required to implement the proposed changes in time for the 2014 fiscal year. Accordingly, the Commission proposes to require Pipelines utilizing an ACA clause to make a one-time compliance filing revising their tariffs to incorporate by reference the ACA unit charge published on the Commission's Web site, as discussed above. In order to give Pipelines subject to these proposed modifications adequate time to implement these changes, this compliance filing will be due 30 days after the Final Rule is published in the
15. The following collections of information contained in this proposed rule are being submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review under section 507(d) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3507(d). The Commission solicits comments on the Commission's need for this information, whether the information will have practical utility, the accuracy of the provided burden estimates, ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and any suggested methods for minimizing respondents' burden, including the use of automated information techniques. The following burden estimates reflect the time necessary for respondents to update their tariffs according to this proposed rule, as well as the avoided burden as respondents will no longer have to file ACA charge tariff adjustments. The Commission estimates it will require eight hours per company to make the one time tariff changes proposed in this rule. In each year, including the first, the Commission estimates that filers will see a two hour per year reduction in burden from no longer filing ACA charge tariff adjustments. The following shows the burden hour impact of the proposed rule.
The average annual burden associated with this rule over three years is 97 hours (870 hours [?] 290 hours [?] 290 hours = 290 hours; 290 hours/3 years = 96.67 hours/year). Accordingly, the Commission estimates that each respondent, on average, should experience a net reduction in burden (2 hours per year) starting with the fifth year and in each year thereafter.
* One-time total cost of $51,330 (870 hours * $59/hour)
* Avoided cost per year of $17,110 (290 hours * $59/hour)
16. Interested persons may obtain information on the reporting requirements by contacting the following: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426 [Attention: Ellen Brown, Office of the Executive Director, email:
17. Comments concerning the collection of information and the associated burden estimate, should be sent to the Commission in this docket and to the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503 [Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, telephone: (202) 395-4638, fax: (202) 395-4718].
18. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.
19. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA)
20. The regulations proposed here impose requirements only on interstate pipelines, the majority of which are not small businesses. Most companies regulated by the Commission do not fall within the RFA's definition of a small
21. The Commission invites interested persons to submit written comments on the proposed regulation modifications promulgated in this NOPR, as well as any related matters or alternative proposals that commenters may wish to discuss. Comments are due November 28, 2012. Comments must refer to Docket No. RM12-14-000, and must include the commenter's name, the organization they represent, if applicable, and their address. Comments may be filed either in electronic or paper format.
22. The Commission encourages comments to be filed electronically via the eFiling link on the Commission's Web site at
23. Commenters that are not able to file comments electronically must send an original of their comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426.
24. All comments will be placed in the Commission's public files and may be viewed, printed, or downloaded remotely as described in the Document Availability section below. Commenters on this proposal are not required to serve copies of their comments on other commenters.
25. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the
26. From the Commission's Home Page on the Internet, this information is available on eLibrary. The full text of this document is available on eLibrary in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, printing, and/or downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type the docket number excluding the last three digits of this document in the docket number field.
27. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the Commission's Web site during normal business hours from the Commission's Online Support at (202) 502-6652 (toll free at 1-866-208-3676) or email at
Natural gas, Pipelines, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.
By direction of the Commission.
In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission proposes to amend Part 154.402, Chapter I, Title 18,
1. The authority citation for part 154 continues to read as follows:
15 U.S.C. 717-717w; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 42 U.S.C. 7102-7352.
2. Revise section 154.402 to read as follows:
(1) A statement that the company is collecting an ACA unit charge, as calculated by the Commission, applicable to all the pipeline's sales and transportation rate schedules,
(2) A statement that the ACA unit charge, as revised annually and posted on the Commission's Web site, is incorporated by reference into the company's tariff,
(3) For companies with existing ACA clauses, a proposed effective date of the tariff change of October 1, 2013; for companies seeking to utilize an ACA clause after October 1, 2013, a proposed effective date 30 days after the filing of the tariff record, unless a shorter period is specifically requested in a waiver petition and approved), and
(4) A statement that the pipeline will not recover any annual charges recorded in FERC Account 928 in a proceeding under subpart D of this part