House Bill Would Authorize FERC to Set Up Electronic Gas Price Tracking

The draft energy bill reported out by the House Energy and Commerce Committee early Thursday would authorize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issues rules authorizing or establishing an electronic information system "to provide the Commission and the public with timely access to such information as is necessary or appropriate to facilitate price transparency and participation in natural gas markets."

The system would provide information about the market price of natural gas sold in interstate commerce. The bill states that the public should have access only to aggregate data, or to transaction-specific data that would be in the public domain based on other FERC activities. The bill includes a penalty provision of up to $1 million a day for anyone violating the rules that FERC issues in this regard.

The provision (section 2402)was added during mark-up of the bill, although it was not voted on as an amendment. The draft bill initially called for a study to be conducted on the reporting of gas prices to published indexes, but Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) advocated more forceful action. Chairman Joe Barton of the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality last month assured Markey he would make a "good faith effort" to come up with a proposal that would address his concerns.

The bill, along with other segments of proposed energy legislation voted out by other committees, is expected to go to the House floor for action next week.

©Copyright 2003 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.