FERC finalizes electronic filing of tariffs

Washington, D.C., Sept. 25, 2008 — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finalized a rule requiring all tariff filings by public utilities, natural gas pipelines and oil pipelines be made electronically.

The standards and protocols governing the electronic tariff filings are the product of a collaborative effort among FERC staff, the electric and gas industry members of the North American Energy Standards Board and the Association of Oil Pipelines. FERC said the standards and protocols will result in an efficient system of electronic filing that will make tariff information accessible to the public from FERC’s web site. Implementation of the electronic tariff filing requirements will begin in 18 months to permit sufficient time for software development.

The new standards “will provide each company with enhanced flexibility to develop software to better integrate tariff filings with their individual tariff maintenance and business need,” the rule states. The newly created database also will allow users to conduct historical research into tariffs and track activity, and also create automatic e-mail notification to an applicant of receipt of a filing and whether the filing has been accepted. The rule also will reduce physical storage space needs and processing time at FERC.

The rule also provides that FERC staff will convene technical conferences with the industries to review development progress and to establish a staggered six-month schedule for initial implementation.

The Federal Power Act, the Natural Gas Act and the Interstate Commerce Act require regulated entities to file with FERC their transmission tariffs outlining the rates, terms and conditions for service on electronic transmission systems and interstate natural gas and oil pipelines.

A notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) was issued in July 2004, followed by a Supplemental NOPR in April of this year.

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