AGL Seeks Extension of FERC Waivers for Unbundling
Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) last week asked FERC to extend the
waivers and limited jurisdiction blanket certificate that were
approved a year ago on a limited basis to help carry out the
utility's retail gas unbundling program in Georgia.
AGL said it was seeking the extension of the authorizations in
advance of their expiration date, which is July 31st, "because it
has a pressing need for regulatory certainty and an orderly
continuation of its unbundling in the short term. Plans [already]
are underway in Georgia to transfer all merchant activities to the
marketers this fall. At the same time, storage activities are
moving forward in preparation for next winter. [AGL] and the
certificated marketers...need to know how Atlanta's upstream
storage capacity will be allocated in the future."
Specifically, the Atlanta, GA-based utility asked for an
extension of a waiver of FERC regulations that would enable it to
make consecutive monthly prearranged releases to marketers of Part
284 capacity obtained under a discounted transportation arrangement
with Southern Natural Gas, and to pass through to marketers the
benefits of other discount and negotiated deals that it may enter
into in the future. It also wants the Commission to continue the
waiver for AGL of its "shipper-must-have-title" policy so it can
allocate certain interstate capacity to marketers under its
Incremental Bundled Storage Service (IBSS).
AGL urged FERC to continue the authorizations "until the earlier
of March 31, 2003, or the time that the affected interstate
services either expire, are made directly assignable, or [are]
converted to Part 284 service, whichever occurs sooner." The
extended authorizations being sought will continue to be "limited
in scope and will apply only to a small fraction of Atlanta's
interstate capacity arrangements," it said.
Although not the "preferred option," the utility said it would
go along with extending the waivers and limited jurisdiction
blanket certificate for only 18 months - from Nov. 1, 1999 to March
31, 2001 - if that's the only way to obtain "favorable and prompt
Retail unbundling in Georgia has "progressed much faster" than
anyone expected or predicted partly due to FERC's "willingness to
apply its regulations and policies flexibly," according to AGL.
Currently nearly 60% of AGL's firm customers (over 852,000 overall)
have selected a certificated marketer to supply their gas needs, it
said. The utility is expected to become fully unbundled by Oct. 1
of this year, at which time its remaining merchant obligation will
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