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FERC Delegating Form 552 Authority Over Routine Matters to Office of Enforcement

In a final rule issued Tuesday, FERC has expressly delegated to its Office of Enforcement authority over the agency's Form 552, through which traders in the wholesale market are required to report aggregated totals of various types of transactions annually.

The rule, which becomes effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register, "will provide clarity and consistency regarding the authority delegated to the Office of Enforcement," according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The rule delegates FERC’s statutory authority to staff members on routine matters, “which in many cases represent nothing more than a ministerial judgment by the office director concerning procedural matters, to allow the Commission to focus on more complex and controversial tasks.”

Various office directors, such as the Director of the Office of Enforcement, are granted this type of authority, which includes the authority to deny or grant, in whole or in part, motions of extensions of time to file, or requests for the waiver of the requirements. It also includes the authority to provide notification if any of the filings fails to comply with the applicable statutory requirements, and when appropriate, notify a party that a submission is acceptable.

FERC's Order 552 was first issued in 2007 (see Daily GPI, Dec. 19, 2008). The initial effort was directed at assessing the extent and viability of the industry's use of published price indexes and cooperation with price surveys such as those published daily, weekly and monthly by Natural Gas Intelligence.

Until now there was no official delegation of authority in the regulations similar to that found in other forms administered by the Office of Enforcement.

Through Form 552, FERC tallies both purchases and sales. While production was rising, natural gas trading continued to decline last year compared with 2013, according to an analysis by NGI of 2014 Form 552 buyer and seller filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission earlier this year (see Daily GPI, May 28).

FERC began publishing Form 552 data six years ago (see Daily GPIJuly 6, 2009).

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