FERC Friday granted a joint motion by Pepco Energy Services Inc. (PES) and Columbia Gas Transmission to dismiss a complaint in which Pepco had alleged that a November capacity auction conducted by the pipeline was flawed and ultimately led to the rejection of valid bids and capacity being awarded to another shipper.

Both sides "have agreed to not pursue further regulatory or civil action against each other with respect to the issues raised in the complaint," the order said [RP07-107]. Columbia Gas, a NiSource pipeline, also has agreed to reinstate Pepco to its approved bidders' list (ABL). Following the auction, Columbia Gas had removed Pepco Energy from its ABL, barring it from bidding on new capacity that would become available or taking assignments of released capacity for six months.

"In view of the parties' agreement, the Commission will accept your motion, dismiss the complaint with prejudice and terminate the proceeding," the order noted. As a result, Columbia Gas does not need to provide the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission with "further explanation" as to why it imposed a six-month removal from its ABL in Pepco's case.

FERC's latest action comes nearly a month after it rejected the Section 5 complaint filed by the Arlington, VA-based energy supplier, which alleged that the Nov. 8 auction on Columbia's electronic bulletin board (EBB) system was fatally flawed (see Daily GPI, Feb. 9). Pepco claimed that the EBB failed to accept the company's valid bids in the closing minutes of the auction, and on some bids failed to recognize Pepco Energy representatives as the bidders and mistakenly transformed the company's "unique" login information and password into data associated with a different bidder (see Daily GPI, Dec. 15, 2006). As a result, Pepco Energy said it lost out on capacity on Columbia that was "integral" to providing service to its retail customers in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area.

The company's complaint urged the Commission to order Columbia to award capacity to Pepco Energy on which it would have had a winning bid if it had not been for the alleged EBB errors, or declare the auction void and order Columbia to conduct a new auction; and order the pipeline to reinstate Pepco Energy on its list of approved bidders.

While FERC in a Feb. 6 order denied Pepco Energy's request for reassignment of capacity or a new auction, it ordered Columbia to provide further information before ruling on the company's plea to be reinstated to the pipeline's list of approved bidders.

Pepco Energy at the time said its removal from Columbia's list of approved bidders would impair its flexibility to accept released capacity on a monthly basis from Washington Gas Light (WGL), which it said was critical for serving its customers on the WGL system. WGL serves gas customers in Virginia, Maryland and Washington.

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