FERC has approved Northwest Pipeline’s request to downsize a planned lateral in Washington State following a move by Northwest Power Co., the original anchor shipper, to back out of the project.

Northwest Pipeline sought to scale back the design capacity of its so-called Everett Delta Lateral to 113,117 Dth/d from 133,000 Dth/d when Northwest Power put on hold the construction of a 248 MW power plant that was to receive the bulk of the capacity (90,000 Dth/d) created by the line. Puget Sound Energy Inc., a secondary customer, had signed up for 43,000 Dth/d of the service.

After Northwest Power exited, Puget Sound notified the Williams Cos. pipeline that it still wanted to proceed with the project, committing itself to the entire 113,117 Dth/d of capacity and agreeing to reimburse Northwest Pipeline for the $24.6 million cost of the lateral.

The Bellevue, WA-based combined utility concluded that the 9.15-mile, 16-inch diameter line would be a critical component in providing reliable service to its customers in the north Seattle area by Nov. 1, according to a FERC order issued Wednesday [CP01-49-002].

The proposed lateral facilities, which would tap into Puget Sound’s distribution system in Snohomish County, WA, will be owned by Puget Sound, but they will be leased to Northwest Pipeline under a five-year agreement and operated by the 4,000-mile pipeline. At the end of the lease, Puget Sound will incorporate the Everett Delta Lateral facilities into its distribution system, the order noted.

FERC originally certificated the lateral project in October 2001. It approved Northwest Pipeline’s request to amend the project at its Feb. 11 regular Commission meeting, but waited a week to issue the order.

In a separate case, the Commission gave the green light for Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline to convert remaining intrastate transmission facilities in Missouri to interstate service.

The former Williams facilities include certain compression and a 192-mile, 8-inch diameter pipeline extending from a compressor station at Lone Jack, MO, to the line’s terminus at St. Peters, MO. Converting the facilities to interstate service would allow for more integrated use of Southern Star’s system and open doors to serve new customers, as well as provide a market for capacity release and more reliable service to the St. Louis area, the order said [CP03-352].

Southern Star estimated the original project cost of the facilities at $13.9 million, of which it sought to roll $12 million into its rate base. FERC rejected the request.

“Southern Star has failed to demonstrate that its project, as proposed, would not be subsidized by existing customers. Specifically, Southern Star has not adequately supported its proposal to charge a rolled-in rate for service over the facilities to be converted. According to its application, rolling the costs of the converted facilities into Southern Star’s rate base would increase six of [the pipeline’s] market area rates,” the order said.

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