The FERC majority has approved a settlement that not only givescustomers on Texas Gas Transmission lower rates and refunds, butalso clears the way for NorAm Gas Transmission, a non-shipper andpipeline competitor, to have an evidentiary hearing on a number ofrate-related issues contained in the agreement. Commissioner LindaBreathitt dissented in part, saying the ruling set a dangerousprecedent for other rate settlement cases.
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If you thought a new pooling system on El Paso Natural Gas wouldbe approved in time for summer vacation, it looks like you may haveto sweat it out for another season. After months of hair pullingscrutiny and debate, FERC has decided to reject El Paso’s March 16filing for scheduling gas pooling transactions on its system andconvene yet another technical conference on the complex matter.
Texas Eastern’s 300 MMcf/d Lebanon Lateral expansion wasapproved by FERC this week with a few conditions, including placingthe pipeline at risk for the cost of unused capacity on the line.The project would add 17,070 hp of compression to the 114-mileline, which stretches from an interconnection with PanhandleEastern near Gas City, IN, to interconnections with Tetco, CNGTransmission and Columbia gas at Lebanon, OH. Total capacity of thesystem following the expansion would be about 660 MMcf/d. Threeshippers, including Dayton Power and Light, Duke Energy and PublicService Electric and Gas signed up for 28% of the proposedcapacity.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission has approved anexpansion of Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania’s customer choice pilotprogram to include 270,000 residential and small-commercialcustomers in south-central and western Pennsylvania, or about 70%of the company’s customers.
In one of its speediest confirmations ever on Capitol Hill, theSenate on Friday approved by unanimous consent the re-appointmentof Commissioner William L. Massey to a second five-year term on theFederal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources Thursdayapproved royalty-in-kind legislation (H.R. 3334) to require thefederal government to take the actual oil or natural gas product asits royalty payment instead of cash for production offshore and onfederal lands. The bill, opposed by the Interior Department’sMinerals Management Service (MMS), included an amendment whichwould allow the government to receive cash for production fromlow-volume producing wells in remote locations.
Looking ahead to what might be the defining issues for his nextterm if his renomination is approved by the Senate, CommissionerWilliam L. Massey focused on FERC’s pipeline certification process,its offshore policy, the issues contained in the gas policy optionspaper – which so far have not been made public – and on ISOs on theelectric side. He said the Commission probably will act on the gaspolicy options paper with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking withinthe next few weeks.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has approved a proposalby the Kansas City Board of trade to increase the number ofconsecutive Western Natural Gas contract months listed on theexchange to 36 from 18. The additional months will be listed fortrade beginning today.
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) quickly approved aproposal by MichCon to implement a three-year plan to offer its 1.2million residential and commercial gas customers the opportunity toselect alternative natural gas suppliers. The plan also cuts andfreezes gas costs for customers who stay with MichCon as their gasprovider.
Subject to certain conditions and a pending a technicalconference, FERC has approved a plan (RP98-140-000) allowingTennessee Gas Pipeline to reserve unused pipeline capacity, sellingit under short-term contracts, up to one year if the capacity canbe used to support a proposed expansion project. The tariff changewas made effective by the Commission on March 25