The El Paso Western Pipeline Group said Tuesday it will host discussions beginning this week with customers who require non uniform hourly flow rates and others who may be affected by nonuniform hourly flow rate operations, including those responsible for the operation of gas-fired electric generation facilities.

The discussions are part of the company’s efforts to meet the requirements of FERC’s Order No. 698, which set down a number of communication protocols for interstate natural gas pipelines and public utilities, El Paso said.

Issued on June 25, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 698 was intended to improve communications about scheduling of gas-fired generators. FERC incorporated by reference certain standards promulgated by the Wholesale Gas Quadrant and the Wholesale Electric Quadrant of the North American Energy Standards Board. The order amended open access regulations governing standards for business practices and electronic communications with interstate pipelines and public utilities, and established communication protocols between interstate pipelines and power plant operators and transmission owners and operators.

The FERC order required the implementation of communication protocols between interstate pipelines and power plant operators (PPO), defined as a party responsible for the gas requirements of a gas-fired electric generating facility, including the responsibility to coordinate the transportation and delivery of gas supplies to meet generation requirements. The standards also require communication protocols between pipelines and balancing authorities, defined as entities responsible for the integration of electric resource plans, the maintenance of electric load-interchange-generation balances, and the support of real-time electric interconnect frequency management.

The standards require communication procedures between pipelines and directly connected PPOs that provide notification of material changes in circumstances that may impact hourly flow rates. Pipelines are required to provide PPOs and other parties with responsibilities for the safe and reliable generation of gas-fired electricity with their choice of automated critical notice and operational flow order notification.

Pipelines and public utilities are required to implement the standards and file a statement demonstrating compliance by Nov. 1.

El Paso said it believes its current communication procedures address most of the protocols raised in Order No. 698 but is interested in reviewing its current communication methods with customers, verifying their effectiveness and getting customer input on possible enhancements. The company has scheduled a conference call Friday with customers.

El Paso’s Western Pipeline Group consists of Colorado Interstate Gas, El Paso Natural Gas, Mojave Pipeline Co., Wyoming Interstate Co. and Cheyenne Plains Gas Pipeline.

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