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August 19, 2013

FERC Expedites Intrastate Pipeline Rate Approvals

On July 18, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final rule to expedite uncontested rate and operating conditions filings by intrastate pipelines transporting natural gas “on behalf of” interstate pipelines or local distribution companies.  Rate filings for interstate service by intrastate pipelines and pipelines that typically transport gas that is both produced and consumed within a single state (Hinshaw pipelines) may now receive automatic FERC approval sixty days after notice of the filing is published in the Federal Register. As amended, 18 CFR Part 284.123 provides intrastate and Hinshaw pipelines optional notice procedures for interstate transportation service rate and operating conditions filings.  Within ten days of the filing, FERC will issue a notice of the filing in the Federal Register.  The notice triggers a 21-day period for the submission of initial comments and intervention, and 60 days for final comments and protests.  If the rate filing is opposed, the new rule includes a 30-day reconciliation period following the deadline for final protests.  If contested issues are not resolved by the end of the reconciliation period, within 60 days after the deadline for filing protests, FERC will “establish procedures to resolve the proceeding” on a case-by-case basis.  If there are no contested issues or any contested issues raised have been resolved, the filing is considered “fair and equitable.”  Previously, uncontested filings could take 150 days or more for approval. The rule will become final 60 days after being published in the Federal Register.

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