Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Notice of proposed information collection and request for comments.
In compliance with the requirements of section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, 44 USC 3506(c)(2)(A) (2006), (Pub. L. 104-13), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) is soliciting public comment on the proposed information collection described below.
Comments in consideration of the collection of information are due October 3, 2011.
Comments may be filed either electronically (eFiled) or in paper format, and should refer to Docket No. IC11-549-000. Documents must be prepared in an acceptable filing format and in compliance with Commission submission guidelines at http://www.ferc.gov/help/submission-guide.asp. eFiling instructions are available at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/efiling.asp. First time users must follow eRegister instructions at: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/eregistration.asp, to establish a user name and password before eFiling. The Commission will send an automatic acknowledgement to the sender's e-mail address upon receipt of eFiled comments. Commenters making an eFiling should not make a paper filing. Commenters that are not able to file electronically must send an original of their comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426.
Users interested in receiving automatic notification of activity in this docket may do so through eSubscription at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/esubscription.asp. All comments and FERC issuances may be viewed, printed or downloaded remotely through FERC's eLibrary at http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/elibrary.asp, by searching on Docket No. IC11-549. For user assistance, contact FERC Online Support by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at: (866) 208-3676 (toll-free), or (202) 502-8659 for TTY.Start Further Info
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Ellen Brown may be reached by e-mail at DataClearance@FERC.gov, telephone at (202) 502-8663, and fax at (202) 273-0873.End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information
The information collected under the requirements of FERC-549, “Gas Pipeline Rates: NGPA Title III and NGA Blanket Certificate Transactions” (OMB Control No. 1902-0086), is used by the Commission to implement the statutory provisions of sections 311 and 312 of the Natural Gas Policy Act (NGPA) and section 7 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA). The Commission implements these statutes in 18 CFR part 284.
Semi-Annual Storage Report for Interstate Pipelines
18 CFR 284.13(e) requires each interstate pipeline to file with the Commission a report of storage activity. The Commission adopted the existing semi-annual storage reporting requirements for interstate pipelines in their current form in 1992 as part of Order No. 636, and there have been only minor modifications in the semi-annual storage reporting requirements since that date.
Natural gas production is relatively constant throughout the year, while many uses of natural gas, residential space heating for example, are seasonal. Natural gas storage plays a critical role in balancing the seasonal demand with relatively constant supply, and the data collected in the semi-annual storage report provides important information about natural gas pipelines' ability to affect the prices shippers can obtain from consumers.
Improved storage technology and the increased use of natural gas in industry and electric generation have helped transform the storage market since 1992. There has been a sharp increase in demand for natural gas outside of the traditional winter months. Withdrawals and injections, instead of occurring on a uniform annual schedule based on heating needs, now occur dynamically year-round in response to market forces.
Transportation by Interstate Pipelines
In 18 CFR 284.102(e) the Commission requires interstate pipelines to obtain proper certification in order to ship natural gas on behalf of intrastate pipelines and local distribution companies (LDC). This certification consists of a letter from the intrastate pipeline or LDC authorizing the intrastate pipeline to ship gas on its behalf. In addition, interstate pipelines must obtain from its shippers certifications including sufficient information to verify that their services qualify under this section.
Rates and Charges for Intrastate Pipelines
18 CFR 284.123(b) provides that intrastate gas pipeline companies file for Commission approval of rates for services performed in the interstate transportation of gas. An intrastate gas pipeline company may elect to use rates contained in one of its then effective transportation rate schedules on file with an appropriate state regulatory agency for intrastate service comparable to the interstate service OR file proposed rates and supporting information showing the rates are cost based and are fair and equitable. 150 days after the application is filed the rate is deemed to be fair and equitable unless the Commission either extends the time for action, institutes a proceeding or issues an order providing for rates it deems to be fair and equitable.
18 CFR 284.123(e) requires that within 30 days of commencement of new service any intrastate pipeline engaging in the transportation of gas in interstate commerce must file a statement that includes the interstate rates and a description of how the pipeline will engage in the transportation services, including operating conditions. If an intrastate gas pipeline company changes its operations or rates it must amend the statement on file with the Commission. Such amendment is to be filed not later than 30 days after commencement of the change operations or change in rate election.
Code of Conduct 
The Commission's regulations at 18 CFR 284.288 and 284.403 provide that Start Printed Page 46784applicable sellers of natural gas adhere to a code of conduct when making gas sales in order to protect the integrity of the market. The Commission imposes this record retention requirement on applicable sellers to “retain, for a period of five years, all data and information upon which it billed the prices it charged for natural gas it sold pursuant to its market based sales certificate or the prices it reported for use in price indices.” FERC uses these records to monitor the jurisdictional transportation activities and unbundled sales activities of interstate natural gas pipelines and blanket marketing certificate holders.
The record retention period of five years is necessary due to the importance of records related to any investigation of possible wrongdoing and related to assuring compliance with the codes of conduct and the integrity of the market. The requirement is necessary to ensure consistency with the rule prohibiting market manipulation (regulations adopted in Order No. 670, implementing the EPAct 2005 anti-manipulation provisions  ) and the generally applicable five-year statute of limitations where the Commission seeks civil penalties for violations of the anti-manipulation rules or other rules, regulations, or orders to which the price data may be relevant.
Failure to have this information available would mean the Commission is unable to perform its regulatory functions and to monitor and evaluate transactions and operations of interstate pipelines and blanket marketing certificate holders.
Market-Based Rates for Storage
In 2006 the Commission amended its regulations to establish criteria for obtaining market-based rates for storage services offered under 18 CFR 284.501-505. First, the Commission modified its market-power analysis to better reflect the competitive alternatives to storage. Second, pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, the Commission promulgated rules to implement section 4(f) of the Natural Gas Act, to permit underground natural gas storage service providers that are unable to show that they lack market power to negotiate market-based rates in circumstances where market-based rates are in the public interest and necessary to encourage the construction of the storage capacity in the area needing storage services, and where customers are adequately protected. These revisions are intended to facilitate the development of new natural gas storage capacity while protecting customers.
Action: The Commission is requesting a three-year extension of the FERC-549 reporting requirements, with no changes.
Burden Statement: The estimated annual public reporting burden is shown in the following table:
|FERC-549 requirements & 18 CFR cite||Number of respondents annually||Number of responses per respondent||Average burden hours per response||Total annual burden hours|
|(1)||(2)||(3)||(1) × (2) × (3)|
|Semi-Annual Storage Reports for Interstates 284.13(e)||3 155||2||4 12||3,720|
|Transportation by Interstate Pipelines 284.102(e)||5 75||2||6 3||450|
|Rates and Charges for Intrastate Pipelines 284.123(b), (e)||7 67||1||8 12||804|
|Code of Conduct 9 (recordkeeping) 284.288, 403||222||1||1||222|
|Market-Based Rates 10 284.501-505||2||1||350||700|
The total estimated annual cost burden to respondents is $339,068 (5,846 hours times $58/hour  ).
The reporting burden includes the total time, effort, or financial resources expended to generate, maintain, retain, disclose, or provide the information including: (1) Reviewing instructions; (2) developing, acquiring, installing, and utilizing technology and systems for the purposes of collecting, validating, verifying, processing, maintaining, disclosing and providing information; (3) adjusting the existing ways to comply with any previously applicable instructions and requirements; (4) training personnel to respond to a collection of information; (5) searching data sources; (6) completing and reviewing the collection of information; and (7) transmitting or otherwise disclosing the information.
The estimate of cost for respondents is based upon salaries for professional and clerical support, as well as direct and indirect overhead costs. Direct costs include all costs directly attributable to providing this information, such as administrative costs and the cost for information technology. Indirect or Start Printed Page 46785overhead costs are costs incurred by an organization in support of its mission. These costs apply to activities which benefit the whole organization rather than any one particular function or activity.
Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology e.g. permitting electronic submission of responses.Start Signature
Dated: July 28, 2011.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
1. These requirements were approved by OMB originally in FERC-916 (OMB Control No. 224, current expiration date is 9/30/2012). They are being moved to the FERC-549 in an effort to decrease the administrative effort involved in renewing data collections.Back to Citation
3. The number of pipelines in eTariff that are subject to the Natural Gas Act.
4. This figure is based on the burden hours estimated in Docket No. RM09-2 (quarterly transportation and storage reports).
5. The number of respondents annually is assumed to be approximately half of the number of interstate pipelines as estimated under the semi-annual storage report category.
6. This is an estimate for the amount of time it requires to complete a one page document, which is what is essentially required by this part (one page from the shippers and one page from the intrastate or LDC, equaling an estimated 2 times a year).
7. This figure is based on the number of filings under 18 CFR Part 284.123 filings over the past three years.
8. This figure is based on the assumption that the effort required to make this revision to a tariff is approximately half of the effort required to make a baseline tariff filing (as computed in the Final Rule in Docket No. RM01-5).
9. The estimates for this category come from the Commission's most recent renewal pertaining to this requirement.
10. The estimates for this category are the same as were submitted to OMB when these requirements were last modified (in the Final Rule in Docket No. RM05-23).
11. The per hour figures were obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics National Industry-Specific Occupational and Employment Wage Estimates (http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics4_221200.htm), and are based on the mean wage statistics for staff in the areas of management, business and financial, legal and administrative. The mean wage was then increased by 20% to account for benefits/overhead.Back to Citation
[FR Doc. 2011-19636 Filed 8-2-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P