FERC last week upheld an earlier order that paved the way forGeorgia’s largest utility to implement retail unbundling behind itscitygate in late 1998.

The October order accepted Atlanta Gas Light’s (AGL) tarifffiling pertaining to the limited one-year certificate and waiversof federal regulations governing capacity release and”shipper-must-hold-title,” which FERC had granted in a previousdecision. The Commission approved the limited certificate andwaivers in late July to aid AGL in implementing retail gascompetition on a state-wide basis.

One of the waivers allowed AGL to make short-term allocations ofcapacity to retail marketers at less than the maximum pipeline ratewithout following the notification and bidding requirements in theCommission’s capacity-release regulations. The other lifted thetitle restriction, enabling the utility to ship marketer-owned gasusing certain storage and storage-related transportation held byAGL under a new Incremental Bundled Storage Service (IBSS).

SCANA Energy Marketing Inc. sought rehearing of the Octoberruling, claiming that the order failed to create an adequateframework for evaluating the Georgia unbundling experiment and leftparticipants in the program vulnerable to affiliate abuse. It askedthat AGL be required to gather data and submit monthly reportsassessing the progress of its unbundling effort [RP98-2006-004].

The Commission rejected SCANA’s bid, saying that it wouldreconsider the marketer’s request when AGL’s waivers andcertificate come up for renewal. FERC noted it already has informedAGL of the need for it to file data showing the effects of itsunbundling program at the interstate level if it seeks renewal.Such data, the Commission said, would have to include the volumesand prices that AGL’s affiliates received during the year that theunbundling program was in effect. In the meantime, it believesGeorgia regulations prohibiting affiliate abuse will be sufficientto shield AGL shippers from undue discrimination.

SCANA also asked that shippers be permitted to release IBSScapacity to third parties, but FERC flatly refused. “The Commissiongranted [AGL] a limited certificate under Section 7 of the NGA toperform IBSS service because Atlanta would be providing the type ofservices performed by interstate pipelines…,” it said, but thecertificate was not meant to allow IBSS customers to release theirservice rights to others.

FERC’s ruling is a “confirmation that SCANA had not brought anynew facts to the table,” said David Donahue, an AGL regulatoryanalyst.

Susan Parker

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