Hourly Service for Panhandle Conditionally OK'd
FERC has conditionally approved a tariff proposal calling for
Panhandle Eastern Pipe Line to provide a new hourly firm
transportation (HFT) service for gas-fired power generation
facilities, as well as for its other eligible customers.
The Commission suspended the tariff proposal to become effective
the earlier of a date established in an order on rehearing or on
July 10, 2000, subject to refund and the conditions spelled out in
the early February order [RP00-162].
As with Reliant Energy Gas Transmission's hourly service,
Panhandle's customers were concerned the proposed HFT service would
degrade their use of the pipeline's existing storage service, but
the Commission said the opposite would occur. The HFT service would
"complement its other firm [storage] services rather than
displacing them," the order noted, adding the shippers' fears of
"potential degradation of service are speculative."
But it did agree the proposed HFT service presented the
likelihood of double penalties for Panhandle shippers - an hourly
overrun penalty and a daily overrun penalty. "Accordingly,
Panhandle must provide an explanation addressing all of the
concerns raised by the protestors with regard to hourly overrun
penalties.....," the Commission said.
FERC also objected to a provision that would limit releases of
hourly services under HFT to a minimum of one day, while other firm
hourly shippers under Panhandle's EFT rate schedule were permitted
to release capacity for any time period, including one-hour
increments. "In the interest of promoting a robust secondary
market for capacity," the order directed Panhandle to revise its
proposed tariff to allow for unrestricted releases under the HFT
Panhandle proposed limiting HFT service to primary delivery
points that are directly connected to its system and equipped with
electronic gas management (EGM) and flow-control equipment. FERC
"will permit Panhandle to apply this requirement to all shippers
who seek hourly service, including LDCs," the order said, adding
that this would "prevent any confusion that could occur with
metering the gas."
But FERC was less taken with the second part of the proposal.
"It is less clear that Panhandle needs to restrict hourly firm
services to only one shipper at each delivery point.....," the
order noted. The Commission questioned whether such a requirement
could be applied in a non-discriminatory fashion, and directed
Panhandle to file a "detailed explanation" addressing this concern
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