FERC Fears AGL Too Dependent on Waivers
FERC has decided to give Atlanta Gas Light (AGL) a short-term
extension of waivers to Commission regulations to preserve the
"status quo" of natural gas unbundling in the state while it
explores other non-waiver options for utilities.
The Commission limited the Atlanta, GA-based utility to only a
17-month extension of its existing experimental waivers, which are
due to expire in October. AGL had asked for an extension of about
three and a half years.
But FERC cited concerns about the impact of granting such a
long-term extension on the interstate pipeline market. "In
addition, if we were to extend the waiver for 3 « years, it is
unclear that this would be Atlanta's final request for a waiver of
the capacity-release regulations. In fact, all indicators suggest
otherwise," the draft order said [RP98-206-005].
In June, AGL had asked FERC to extend and expand a waiver that
enables it to make consecutive monthly prearranged releases to
marketers of Part 284 capacity obtained at a discount from Southern
Natural Gas and other pipelines. It also sought a continuance of
the waiver of the Commission's "shipper-must-have-title" policy so
AGL could allocate interstate capacity to marketers under its
Incremental Bundled Storage Service (IBSS). The utility's existing
waivers were for one year.
Although it turned down AGL's request for the longer extension,
the Commission said it couldn't cut the LDC off cold turkey from
the waivers. It "recognizes that waiver of the
shipper-must-have-title policy is important to Atlanta's retail
unbundling program as currently designed. A denial of extension of
the waiver would likely require an immediate restructuring of the
Georgia retail unbundling program or, at a minimum, could cause
parties hardship in continuing to proceed under the state
FERC settled on the short-term extension "to preserve the status
quo, while we explore the other options available that will enable
Atlanta's state retail unbundling program to proceed without the
continuing need for waivers of the Commission regulations and
special authorizations." It also said it will hold a technical
conference to examine the effect of the waivers and Atlanta's
unbundling program on the interstate market. FERC directed a number
of pipelines that provide part 157 service to AGL-such as Southern
Natural, Transco, South Georgia Natural Gas and others-to
participate in the conference. A date has not been set.
Separately, the Commission also awarded Baltimore Gas and
Electric a 12-month waiver of its shipper-must-have-title
regulation in order to carry out a retail unbundling program.
©Copyright 1999 Intelligence Press Inc. All rights reserved. The
preceding news report may not be republished or redistributed, in
whole or in part, in any form, without prior written consent of
Intelligence Press, Inc.