FERC Monday approved a stipulation and consent agreement that resolved charges that Enterprise Texas Pipeline LLC charged its shippers an unauthorized title transfer and tracking (TTT) fee that was not posted in the company’s Commission-approved statement of operating conditions.
Enterprise Texas neither admitted nor denied the violations, but it agreed to pay a civil penalty of $315,000 to the U.S. Treasury. This comes three months after Enterprise Texas, in consultation with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Enforcement, refunded its customers $7.23 million with interest for the alleged violations at issue in the investigation.
As part of the agreement, Enterprise Texas has said it would not pass through any of the costs to current or future customers or ratepayers.
Enterprise Pipeline said it assessed the TTT volumetric charge on shippers to keep track of the “daisy chain” of gas supply transactions conducted by shippers at the Waha Hub in West Texas. From 2004 to 2005, the TTT fee was $0.002 /Dth. In 2005, Enterprise Pipeline increased the fee to $0.005/Dth.
Enterprise charged the $7.23 million in unauthorized TTT fees between 2004 and 2012, according to the order approving the stipulation and consent agreement [IN-16]. It said the pipeline ceased charging the fee in August 2012.
“Enterprise Texas claims that a prior owner of the company charged the fees and that Enterprise Texas continued the practice without determining whether it was consistent with Commission statutes or regulations…Upon discovering that it had been charging these fees without authorization, Enterprise Texas conducted a thorough internal investigation, ceased charging the fee immediately, proposed changes to its compliance procedures and promptly reported the violations to enforcement,” the order noted.
Enterprise Texas is a subsidiary of Duncan Energy Partners, which is indirectly owned by Enterprise Products Partners LP. The company acquired the pipeline in 2004 from GulfTerra Texas Pipeline LP, the order noted (see Daily GPI, Dec. 16, 2003). Prior to 2004, the pipeline underwent several changes in ownership — Valero Transmission LP, PG&E Texas Pipeline LP and EPGT Texas Pipeline LP are all previous owners.
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