On February 16, 2012, FERC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NOPR”) proposing to revise its regulations governing interstate natural gas pipeline business practices and standards.  FERC’s proposed rule would adopt and incorporate by reference, (with certain exceptions) certain standards adopted by the Wholesale Gas Quadrant of the North American Energy Standards Board (“NAESB”).  

The proposed rule includes provisions that are designed to support coordination between the natural gas and electric markets, standards for pipeline postings regarding waste heat, and standards to allow for more efficient processing of wholesale natural gas transactions. 

The NOPR would require pipelines to implement the new standards within four months of the issuance of a final rule.  In addition, the proposed rule would require pipelines to file revised tariffs with FERC to reflect the new standards at least two months before the final rule takes effect.

Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur (D) issued a statement specifically requesting comments on:

  • Coordination and communication between the gas and electric industry to maintain reliability during weather or outage events.
  • New pipeline and storage service and pricing structures that might better meet the emerging needs of generators.
  • Scheduling protocols for gas pipelines and electric generation facilities.
  • Whether there is a need to include fuel supply standards so that electric generators may better meet their own electric reliability standards.
  • How to improve the Commission’s work on pipeline and storage infrastructure to ensure that gas infrastructure is in place to support the nation’s growing reliance on gas for electric generation.

Comments are due on the NOPR within 30 days of its publication in the Federal Register. 

A copy of the NOPR can be found here.  A copy of Commissioner LaFleur’s statement can be found here.