Obama 2013 Budget Boosts PMHSA, Cuts Clean Water, SRF

April 2012, Vol. 67 No. 4

One of the more controversial issues is likely to be whether FERC ought to align “gas days” and “electricity days.” These markets are not always open on the same days. Another issue that will come up is balancing services offered by pipelines. "It should be understood that several of the major natural gas pipelines do not offer any balancing services," says one state public power executive who declined to be identified. "That is not a good fit if a natural gas-fired electrical generation facility wants to load follow."

Don Santa, president and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, says, "The interstate natural gas pipeline industry has a proven track record of building infrastructure and providing services when the needs of the market are expressed by customers willing to reserve and pay for pipeline capacity. While there is merit to addressing opportunities for improving communications and scheduling, it is unrealistic to believe that these efforts alone will ensure that natural gas generators can operate reliably under any circumstances.”

FERC rejects controversial enterprise tariff increase
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected a major tariff increase sought by the Enterprise TE Products Pipeline Company. The increase was hotly opposed by the National Propane Gas Association (NPGA) and many individual shippers. Nils Nichols, director, division of Pipeline Regulation at FERC, said the Enterprise TE Products Pipeline Company failed to meet FERC requirements, for example, by not explaining 22 propane and butane route cancellations. But that was just one of a number of technical inadequacies Nichols pointed to in the tariff increase application. Nichols did not comment on whether the requested rate hikes themselves were "just and reasonable," which is the standard FERC uses.

The NPGA had led an attack on the tariff increase request, filed in February, which Enterprise wanted to put in place on March 12.Tom Van Buren, vice president of Ferrell North America and chairman of NPGA's Pipeline Advocacy Task Force, says, "Never before have we seen such an emphatic and concerted response to a FERC proceeding. The industry believes the abnormally large rate increases -- many of which are 70 percent to more than 100 percent -- will have a devastating effect on the competitiveness of propane as an alternative fuel in the eastern United States."