Federal Register: June 10, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 111)
DOCID: FR Doc 05-11543
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
CFR Citation: 18 CFR Parts 260 and 284
Docket ID: [Docket No. RM05-12-000]
NOTICE: PROPOSED RULES
ACTION: Natural Gas Policy Act; natural gas companies (Natural Gas Act):
DOCUMENT ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.
Modification of Natural Gas Reporting Regulations
DATES: Comments are due July 25, 2005.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) is
proposing to amend its regulations to standardize the filing format for
reporting natural gas service interruptions and emergency natural gas
sale, transportation and exchange. The Commission is also proposing to
modernize the filing method, develop a tracking method for filings, and
develop an electronic notification system to notify appropriate
Commission staff when the information is filed with the Commission. In
addition, the Commission seeks comment on affording Critical Energy
Infrastructure Information (CEII) protection where applicable. These
modifications are the result of a review conducted by the Commission's
Information Assessment Team (FIAT) of the Commission's current
information collections by evaluating their original purposes and
current uses, and to propose ways to reduce the reporting burden on
industry through the elimination, reduction, streamlining or
reformatting of current collections. The modification of the
regulations to modernize the filing method and standardize the filing
format should streamline the process and reduce the burden of filing information under FERC576 ``Report of Natural Gas Service
Interruptions'' and FERC588 ``Emergency Natural Gas Sale,
Transportation and Exchange Transactions.'' In addition, the Commission proposes to provide CEII protection for the information contained on both information collection requirements and seeks comment on this proposal. The Commission believes these modifications will not in any way prejudice the rights of any participant in those proceedings or anyone interested in the Commission's natural gas program.
Natural gas reporting regulations; modification,
DOCUMENT BODY 2:
May 27, 2005.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) has reviewed
its natural gas regulations in order to determine whether they contain
any outdated requirements or impose any unnecessary burdens on persons
subject to the Commission's jurisdiction. This review was conducted by
the FERC Information Assessment Team (FIAT) that was tasked by the
Chairman to assess the Commission's information needs. Goal 2 of the
tasks identified by the team to meet this mission included identifying
all of the Commission's current information collections, through forms
and filing requirements (electric, hydropower, natural gas, oil and
general), and evaluate their original purposes and current uses, and
propose ways to reduce the reporting burden on industry through
elimination, reduction, streamlining or reformatting of current
collections. The modification of the regulations proposed in this rule
will modernize the filing method and standardize the filing format to
ensure greater filing efficiency for the information filed under FERC
576 ``Report of Natural Gas Service Interruptions'' and FERC588 ``Emergency Natural Gas Sale, Transportation and Exchange
Transactions.'' In addition, because information filed under both information collections reference the location of energy facilities, the Commission is proposing to limit access to this information under its Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII) procedures. The Commission believes that these modifications would not in any way prejudice the rights of any participant in those proceedings or anyone interested in the Commission's natural gas program.
1. Under the Natural Gas Act (NGA) (Public Law 75688) \1\ a
natural gas company must obtain the Commission's authorization to
engage in the transportation or exchange of natural gas in interstate
commerce. The Commission oversees the continuity of service in the
transportation of natural gas in interstate commerce. Under section
7(d) of the NGA,\2\ the Commission may issue a temporary certificate in
cases of emergency to ensure maintenance of adequate service or to
serve particular customers without notice or hearing. Section 10(a) of
the NGA \3\ requires natural gas pipeline companies to file reports
with the Commission as prescribed by rules or regulations or by order
as appropriate, to assist the Commission in performing its regulatory
duties. The provisions of section 16 of the NGA \4\ authorize the
Commission to prescribe forms, statements, declarations and reports,
including the information they are to contain and the time frames for filing the information.
\1\ 15 U.S.C. 717717w. (2000).
\2\ 15 U.S.C. 717f. (2000).
\3\ 15 U.S.C. 717i. (2000).
\4\ 15 U.S.C. 717o. (2000).
2. The information filed under FERC576 ``Report of Natural Gas Service Interruptions'' notifies the Commission in a timely manner of any interruption to service or possible hazard to public health or safety. The Commission, in response to timely notification of a serious interruption, may contact other pipelines to determine available supply, and if necessary, authorize transportation or construction of facilities to alleviate the problem. The information collected identifies serious interruptions of service to any wholesale customer involving facilities operated under the Commission's certificate authorization. The information collected may include: (1) The date of service interruption; (2) the date of reporting of the interruption to the Commission; (3) location of the interruption; (4) brief description of the facility involved and the cause of the interruption; (5) customer(s) affected; (6) duration of the interruption, and (7) volumes of natural gas interrupted.
3. FERC588 ``Emergency Natural Gas Sale, Transportation and
Exchange Transactions'' is also authorized by the provisions of the
NGA. However, section 7(c)(1)(B) of the NGA exempts from certificate
requirements ``temporary acts or operations for which the issuance of a
certificate will not be required in the public interest.'' \5\ The
Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA) (Public Law 95621) \6\ also provides for
the reporting of noncertificated interstate transactions involving intrastate pipelines and local distribution companies.
\5\ 15 U.S.C. 717f. (2000).
\6\ 15 U.S.C. 33013432. (2000).
4. An emergency is defined as any situation in which an actual or expected shortage of gas supply or capacity would require an interstate pipeline company, intrastate pipeline company, local distribution company or Hinshaw pipeline to curtail deliveries of gas or provide less than the projected level of service to any customer. These situations include a sudden, unanticipated loss of natural gas supply or capacity, sudden, anticipated loss of natural gas supply or capacity, or any situation in which the participant, in good faith, determines that immediate action is required for the protection of life or health or the maintenance of physical property. Respondents are to file a report within fortyeight hours after the commencement of the transportation, sale or exchange of deliveries of natural gas commence, a request to extend the sixtyday term of the emergency transportation, if needed, and a termination report.
5. In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) the Commission is proposing to amend parts 260 and 284 of its regulations governing interruptions of natural gas service to wholesale customers involving certificated facilities (18 CFR 260.9) and the emergency reconstruction of certificated facilities (18 CFR 284.270).
6. The Commission intends to modernize the filing method and to
assist jurisdictional entities when filing information in response to
the requirements of 18 CFR 260.9 ``Report by natural gas pipeline
companies on service interruptions occurring on the pipeline system''
and 18 CFR subpart I ``Emergency natural gas sale, transportation, and
exchange transactions.'' The Commission will provide for the electronic
submission of data, and will standardize the filing format. In
addition, the Commission proposes to develop an internal tracking
mechanism to provide staff with timely information on the submission of [[Page 33875]]
reports for service interruptions and emergency natural gas transaction reports. The latter, as required by 18 CFR 284.270, calls for the submission of fortyeight hour reports for sales transactions, transportation, exchanges and the termination reports.
7. The current requirements of 18 CFR 260.9 direct that natural gas pipeline companies must report to the Commission serious service interruptions to communities, major Government installations and large industrial plants outside of communities, or interruptions that the pipeline considers to be significant. The pipeline must notify the Commission of the interruption with the following information: (1) The location of the interruption; (2) the time of the interruption; (3) the customers affected by the interruption and (4) the emergency actions taken to maintain the service. The pipeline must also provide the Commission with a copy of the failure report filed with the Department of Transportation, and the pipeline must file the interruption report with the state commissions in the affected states. Natural gas pipeline companies currently submit this information in hardcopy as well as any electronic means, including facsimile transmission or telegraph.
8. The information provided for under 18 CFR 284.270 of the Commission's regulations permits the Commission to determine whether an emergency gas sale, transportation or exchange qualifies for an exemption under section 7(c) of the NGA. The information must be filed within 48 hours after an emergency transaction begins, and within 30 days after termination of the transaction. The filer must also submit a report with the U.S. Department of Transportation and may use the telegraph as a medium for transmitting this information.
9. Because the telegraph is an outdated method for submitting this information, the Commission proposes to require instead the electronic submission of the information required in both 18 CFR 260.9 and 18 CFR 284.270. For Internet filing provisions, see 18 CFR 385.2003 (c). The benefits of having this information filed electronically include efficient delivery of the information, immediate confirmation to the filer of the Commission's receipt of the information, and almost immediate access by Commission staff. The electronic submission of information will reduce the number of data entry errors, permit Commission staff to conduct analysis in a timely manner, and provide for the storage of information on optical storage media, thus saving valuable storage. Electronic reporting will also provide time and resource savings for all parties by reducing the number of personnel needed to submit paper filings, particularly since it will eliminate paper processing and mailing. All parties, including the Commission, will benefit by having current data and the integrity of the data will increase because jurisdictional entities and the Commission will be able to correct the errors more promptly.
10. In Order No. 630 \7\, the Commission issued procedures for
gaining access to CEII, which would not otherwise be made available
under the Freedom of Information Act.\8\ These procedures made in the
aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and instituted
to restrict unrestrained access to certain types of information because
of the threat of terrorism, keep sensitive infrastructure information
out of the public domain. By placing restrictions on the use of this
information, the Commission will decrease the likelihood terrorists
could use such information to plan or execute terrorist attacks. The
Commission defines CEII as information about ``existing or proposed
critical infrastructure that: (i) Relates to the production,
generation, transportation, transmission, or distribution of energy;
(ii) could be useful to a person planning an attack on critical
infrastructure; (iii) is exempt from mandatory disclosure under the
Freedom of Information Act; and, (iv) does not simply give the location
of critical infrastructure.'' (18 CFR 388.113 (c)(1)) Critical
infrastructure means ``existing or proposed systems and assets, whether
physical or virtual, the incapacity or destruction of which would
negatively affect security, economic security, public health or safety,
or any combination of these matters.'' (18 CFR 388.113(c)(2)) In
submitting information under both 18 CFR 260.9 and 284.270, pipelines
must provide descriptions of the facilities and their location in order
to describe why there is an interruption of service or the measures
that they are taking to reconstruct the pipeline. If this information
remained publicly available, it could provide those planning or
executing terrorist attacks with an opportunity to take advantage of
vulnerabilities in the energy infrastructure. It is for this reason the
Commission seeks comment on placing the information filed in response
to 18 CFR 260.9 and 18 CFR 284.270 under CEII protection. CEII may be
released to a requester with a legitimate need for the information who
is willing to abide by an appropriate nondisclosure agreement. See 18 CFR 3881.113.
\7\ Critical Energy Infrastructure Information, 68 FR 9857 (March 3, 2003), FERC Stats. & Regs. ]31,140 (2003).
\8\ 5 U.S.C. 552. (2000).
Information Collection Statement
11. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) regulations require
OMB to approve certain information collection requirements imposed by
agency rule.\9\ Comments are solicited on the Commission's need for
this information, whether the information will have practical utility,
the accuracy of the provided burden estimates, ways to enhance the
quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected, and
any suggested methods for minimizing respondents' burden, including the use of automated information techniques.
\9\ 5 CFR 1320.11.
12. Estimated Annual Burden
Number of Data collection Number of Number of hours per Total annual respondents responses response hours FERC576........................................ 22 1 1 22 FERC588........................................ 8 1 10 80
Totals...................................... .............. .............. .............. 102 [[Page 33876]]
Title: Report of Service Interruptions (FERC576). Emergency Natural Gas Sale, Transportation & Exchange (FERC588).
Action: Proposed Collections.
OMB Control Nos. 19020004 & 19020144.
Respondents: Businesses or other for profit.
Frequency of Responses: On occasion.
Necessity of the Information: The proposed regulations will revise the reporting requirements for service interruptions and emergency transactions to streamline the requirements and reduce the burden for the respondents. The information filed with the Commission informs it of serious natural gas pipeline service interruptions and also of the need for emergency reconstruction of natural gas pipelines or the need to sell, transport or make exchanges due to actual or expected shortages of gas supply.
Internal Review: The Commission has reviewed the proposed amendments to its regulations to modify the filing method, standardize the format and create an internal tracking mechanism for Commission staff. The revisions to the regulations will provide more effective and efficient information by providing current data by electronic submission. This method of filing will reduce data errors and thus preserve the integrity of the data. The Commission will be able to conduct further analysis of filed reports in a more timely fashion and expedite dissemination to Commission staff to ensure a timely response. The Commission also proposes to change the availability of the information to the public by classifying it as subject to CEII protection and seeks comment on this proposal. By invoking this protection, the Commission seeks to minimize the available information on vulnerabilities in the energy infrastructure to those persons who either plan or will execute a terrorist attack. The Commission has assured itself, by means of internal review, that there is specific, objective support for the burden estimates associated with the information collection requirements.
Interested persons may obtain information on the information requirements by contacting the following: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426 (Attention: Michael Miller, Office of the Executive Director, phone (202) 5028415, fax: (202) 2730873, email: email@example.com).
For submitting comments concerning the collection of information(s) and the associated burden estimate(s), please send your comments to the contact listed above and to the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503, (Attention: Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, phone: (202) 3954650, fax: (202) 3957285).
13. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental
Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may
have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.\10\ The
Commission has categorically excluded certain actions from this
requirement as not having a significant effect on the human
environment. Included in the exclusion are rules that are clarifying,
corrective, or procedural or that do not substantially change the
effect of the regulations being amended.\11\ This proposed rule, if
finalized, is procedural in nature and therefore falls under this
exception. Therefore, no environmental consideration would be necessary.
\10\ Order No. 486, Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act, 52 FR 47897 (Dec. 17, 1987), FERC Stats. & Regs. Preambles 19861990 ] 30,783 (1987).
\11\ 18 CFR 380.4(a)(2)(ii).
Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification
14. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) \12\ generally
requires a description and analysis of final rules that will have
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small
entities.\13\ The Commission is not required to make such an analysis if a rule would not have such an effect.
\12\ 5 U.S.C. 601612 (2000).
\13\ The RFA definition of ``small entity'' refers to the definition provided in the Small Business Act, which defines a ``small business concern'' as a business which is independently owned and operated and which is not dominant in its field of operation. 15 U.S.C. 632 (2000). The Small Business Size Standards component of the North American Industry Classification System defines a small pipeline for transportation of natural gas as one that, including its affiliates, did not have total annual revenues for the preceding fiscal years exceeding $6.0 million. 13 CFR 121.201 (Sectors 4849, Sub sector 486, Pipeline Transportation, North American Industry Classification System, NAICS) ( 2004).
15. The Commission does not think that the proposed amendments to its regulations would have such an impact on small entities. Based on past experience, most of the pipelines filing either an interruption service report or an emergency transaction report under the proposed regulations would be entities that do not meet the RFA's definition of a small entity. Further, if the proposed regulations are adopted, all pipelines, including small entities, should benefit through reduced staffing and processing costs by being able to submit this information electronically. Therefore, the Commission certifies that this rule will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.
16. The Commission invites interested persons to submit comments on the matters and issues that it proposes to adopt, including any related matters or alternative proposals that commenters may wish to discuss. Comments are due July 25, 2005. Comments must refer to Docket No. RM05 12000, and must include the commenter's name, the organization they represent, if applicable, and their address in their comments.
17. Comments may be filed electronically via the eFiling link on the Commission's Web site at http://www.ferc.gov. The Commission accepts most standard word processing formats and commentors may attach additional files with supporting information in certain other file formats. Commenters filing electronically do not need to make a paper filing. Commenters that are not able to file comments electronically must send an original and 14 copies of their comments to: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Office of the Secretary, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC, 20426.
18. All comments will be placed in the Commission's public files and may be viewed, printed, or downloaded remotely as described in the Document Availability section below. Commentors commenting on this proposal are not required to serve copies of their comments on other commenters.
19. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an opportunity to view and/or print the contents of this document via the Internet through FERC's Home Page (http://www.ferc.gov) and in FERC's Public Reference Room during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time) at 888 First Street, NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426.
20. From FERC's Home Page on the Internet, this information is available in the eLibrary. The full text of this document is available in the eLibrary both in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, printing, and/or downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type the docket number, excluding the last three digits of this document, in the docket number field.
21. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the FERC's Web
site during normal business hours. For assistance contact FERC Online
Support at FERCOnlineSupport@ferc.gov or tollfree at (866) 2083676,
or for TTY, contact (202) 5028659. EMail the Public Reference Room at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 2025028371.
List of Subjects
18 CFR Part 260
Statements, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. 18 CFR Part 284
Natural gas, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.
By direction of the Commission.
In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission proposes to amend parts 260 and 284, title 18 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:
PART 260STATEMENTS AND REPORT (SCHEDULES)
1. The authority citation for part 260 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 15 U.S.C. 717717w, 33013432; 42 U.S.C. 71017352.
2. Amend Sec. 260.9 by revising paragraphs (b) introductory text
and (e), and by adding a note following paragraph (b)(4) to read as follows:
Sec. 260.9 Report by natural gas pipeline companies on service interruptions occurring on the pipeline system.
* * * * *
(b) Reporting requirement. Natural gas pipeline companies must report such interruptions to service by electronic submission, to the Commission and the Director, Division of Pipeline Certificates, Office of Energy Projects, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20426 (Fax: (202) 5028625) at the earliest feasible time following such interruption to service, and must state briefly:
* * * * *
Note to paragraph (b): Submit in electronic format in accordance
with Sec. 385.2003 of this chapter. This report is an electronic file
that is classified as a ``qualified document.'' As a qualified
document, no paper copy version of the filing is required unless there
is a request for privileged and protected treatment or the document is
combined with another document as provided in Sec. 385.2003(c)(3) or (4).
* * * * *
(e) Copies of the report on interruption of service must be sent electronically to the State commission in those States where service has been or might be affected.
PART 284CERTAIN SALES AND TRANSPORTATION OF NATURAL GAS UNDER THE NATURAL GAS POLICY ACT OF 1978 AND RELATED AUTHORITIES
1. The authority citation for part 284 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 15 U.S.C. 717717w, 33013432; 42 U.S.C. 71017352; 43 U.S.C. 13311356.
2. Amend Sec. 284.270 by adding introductory text and by revising paragraphs (a) introductory text, (b) introductory text, and (c) introductory text to read as follows:
Sec. 284.270 Reporting requirements.
Each report shall be submitted in electronic format in accordance
with Sec. 385.2003 of this chapter. All reports are electronic files
classified as ``qualified documents.'' As qualified documents, no paper
copy version of the filing is required unless there is a request for
privileged and protected treatment or the document is combined with
another document as provided in Sec. 385.2003(c)(3) or (4).
(a) Fortyeight hour report for sales transactions. Within 48 hours
after deliveries of emergency natural gas commence, the purchasing
participant must notify the Commission electronically of the sale, stating, in the following sequences:
* * * * *
(b) Fortyeight hour report for transportation (excluding exchanges). Within 48 hours after deliveries commence in an emergency natural gas transaction which does not involve the sale of emergency natural gas, the recipient of the emergency natural gas shall notify the Commission electronically of the transportation, stating in the following sequence:
* * * * *
(c) Fortyeight hour report for exchanges. Within 48 hours after an exchange transaction for emergency natural gas commences, the initial recipient of the exchange volumes shall notify the Commission electronically of the exchange, stating in the following sequence: * * * * *
[FR Doc. 0511543 Filed 6905; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 671701P
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Michael Miller (Technical Information), Office of Executive Director,
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 5028415.
Michael McGehee (Technical Information), Office of Energy Projects, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 5028962.
Jacqueline Holmes (Legal Information), Office of the General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 5028198.