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FERC Explores Adequacy of Financial Filings

FERC Thursday launched an inquiry to determine whether the quarterly and annual financial forms filed by regulated natural gas pipeline companies, electric utilities and oil pipeline companies provide the relevant information that is critical to the agency's jurisdictional activities.

In a related show-cause order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave 14 regulated energy companies 30 days to explain why they have not filed various financial forms or the required certified public accountant (CPA) reports. The Commission said the companies would avoid any penalty if they file their delinquent forms and CPA reports within the next month [IN07-0].

The notice of inquiry (NOI) seeks comments on whether seven financial forms -- 1, 1-F, 2, 2-A, 3-Q, 6 and 6-Q -- "provide sufficient information to the public to permit an evaluation of the filer's jurisdictional rates and whether these forms should otherwise be modified to improve their usefulness," FERC staff said during the agency meeting [RM07-9].

FERC Chairman Joseph Kelliher has been especially concerned about the adequacy of the information contained in Form 2, on which many Section 5 natural gas complaints are based. He noted that pipelines often challenge Section 5 complaints, arguing that the information in Form 2 is insufficient. "The time has come to revisit Form 2 and assure that it provides the data complainants need. If Form 2 is inadequate in any respect, we must strengthen it," Kelliher said.

The NOI comments are due at FERC within 30 days.

The 14 energy entities named in the show-case action include Black Creek Hydro Inc., Chugach Electric Association, Dauphin Island Gathering Partners, Eastern Shore Natural Gas Co., Energy West Development, Golden State Water Co., Granite State Gas Transmission, Jackson Prairie Underground Storage Project, MarkWest Energy Supply, Nornew Energy Supply, Omya Inc., Panther Interstate Pipeline Energy LLC, Steuben Gas Storage and UGI Utilities Inc.

Since the filing of FERC's meeting notice a week ago, one company -- Interstate Storage and Pipeline Corp. -- filed its 6-Q quarterly report, and was thus removed from the show-cause action, staff said.

In a third related order, FERC eliminated, effective immediately, the ability of energy companies to mark financial form data as "privileged" in electronic financial form submissions. This action is consistent with the Commission's long-standing policy that financial information be public, the agency said.

The current software used by filers of Forms 1, 2, 2-A and 3-Q allows such a designation to be made. FERC said agency-provided software will be updated to eliminate this option.

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