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Industrials Riled by Fees for Info on GISB Standards

Industrials Riled by Fees for Info on GISB Standards

Industrial gas users want to "comment" on the revised and new Gas Industry Standards Board's (GISB) standards that FERC proposed for adoption in December, but there's only one problem - they don't know what they are. The Commission apparently doesn't have a copy of the proposed changes on file, they said, and to get them from the standards-setting organization could cost the tidy sum of $3,500.

FERC's notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) gave only a "perfunctory" description of "Version 1.3" of the GISB consensus standards that the Commission seeks to adopt, said the Process Gas Consumers Group (PGC), the American Iron and Steel Institute and the Georgia Industrial Group [RM96-1-011]. It merely said "Version 1.3...updates and improves the standards, with the principal changes occurring in the areas of confirmation practices, further standardization of the information provided on the pipeline Internet websites, and revisions to the data sets."

"No further explanation was provided in the NOPR...," the industrials noted. Nor were any of the revised or new standards "appended" to the NOPR, available on the Commission's electronic/on-line information databases (such as RIMS or CIPS), or on file at FERC's Public Reference Room, they said.

Such information is "apparently only available from GISB itself at considerable expense - the GISB website indicates that to view the proposed standards on-line, a person must 'subscribe' to GISB's website at the cost of $3,500..." A paper copy of the information can be ordered for $25, the industrials noted, but there's no guarantee of when it would be received. A Commission representative said FERC was restricted in its release of information about the proposed standards because they have "copyright protection," the industrials related. "If the Commission is not making the proposed standards available free or at a modest fee to the public... that is clearly an unconscionable abuse by GISB that should not be condoned and abetted by the Commission," they said. "The Commission should make it clear to GISB that, if GISB wants its proposed standards to become the law of the land, it must release the material free of charge to the public or enable the Commission to do it." Susan Parker

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