FERC Reaffirms Ruling On AGL Unbundling
FERC last week upheld an earlier order that paved the way for
Georgia's largest utility to implement retail unbundling behind its
citygate in late 1998.
The October order accepted Atlanta Gas Light's (AGL) tariff
filing pertaining to the limited one-year certificate and waivers
of federal regulations governing capacity release and
"shipper-must-hold-title," which FERC had granted in a previous
decision. The Commission approved the limited certificate and
waivers in late July to aid AGL in implementing retail gas
competition on a state-wide basis.
One of the waivers allowed AGL to make short-term allocations of
capacity to retail marketers at less than the maximum pipeline rate
without following the notification and bidding requirements in the
Commission's capacity-release regulations. The other lifted the
title restriction, enabling the utility to ship marketer-owned gas
using certain storage and storage-related transportation held by
AGL under a new Incremental Bundled Storage Service (IBSS).
SCANA Energy Marketing Inc. sought rehearing of the October
ruling, claiming that the order failed to create an adequate
framework for evaluating the Georgia unbundling experiment and left
participants in the program vulnerable to affiliate abuse. It asked
that AGL be required to gather data and submit monthly reports
assessing the progress of its unbundling effort [RP98-2006-004].
The Commission rejected SCANA's bid, saying that it would
reconsider the marketer's request when AGL's waivers and
certificate come up for renewal. FERC noted it already has informed
AGL of the need for it to file data showing the effects of its
unbundling program at the interstate level if it seeks renewal.
Such data, the Commission said, would have to include the volumes
and prices that AGL's affiliates received during the year that the
unbundling program was in effect. In the meantime, it believes
Georgia regulations prohibiting affiliate abuse will be sufficient
to shield AGL shippers from undue discrimination.
SCANA also asked that shippers be permitted to release IBSS
capacity to third parties, but FERC flatly refused. "The Commission
granted [AGL] a limited certificate under Section 7 of the NGA to
perform IBSS service because Atlanta would be providing the type of
services performed by interstate pipelines...," it said, but the
certificate was not meant to allow IBSS customers to release their
service rights to others.
FERC's ruling is a "confirmation that SCANA had not brought any
new facts to the table," said David Donahue, an AGL regulatory
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