El Paso Natural Gas and a large number of shippers on its pipeline have called on FERC again to quickly approve an offer of settlement that has been pending at the agency for several months.

The proposed settlement resolves El Paso's Section 4 rate case and was filed eight months ago, according to supporting parties to the settlement. They have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to act on the proposed settlement on or before Aug. 31.

The rate settlement is "very widely" supported, they said. Although one party, Phelps Dodge Corp., filed comments opposing the offer of settlement, the presiding administrative law judge said Phelps Dodge had failed to raise genuine issues of material fact, and thus certified the settlement to the Commission as uncontested.

"Delay in issuing an order is placing increased risk on El Paso and the settling parties on whether the parties will receive the benefit of their bargain and causing increasing disruption in the timelines agreed to by the parties," the settling parties said in May.

"Prompt action on the offer of settlement would provide customers with greater stability concerning the terms of services and the applicability of certain penalties. It will eliminate the continued significant uncertainty that exists in the natural gas and power markets in the Southwest being caused by the unresolved status of the settlement. In particular, customer business decisions related to fuel planning functions have been hampered by the uncertainty surrounding the settlement, and this harm is ongoing," they said in their latest request.

Some of the supporting parties to the settlement are Arizona Power Cooperative Inc., Arizona Public Service Co., California Public Utilities Commission, El Paso Electric Co., El Paso Municipal Customers Group, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Public Service Company of New Mexico, Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, Sempra Global, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Co., San Diego Gas & Electric, Southwest Gas Corp., Texas Gas Service Co. and Tucson Electric Power Co.

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