• FERC Issues E-Tariff Final Rule
  • October 19, 2008
  • Law Firm: Troutman Sanders LLP - Atlanta Office
  • On September 19, 2008, the Commission issued Order No. 714 (“Final Rule”), requiring all tariff filings by public utilities, natural gas pipelines and oil pipelines to be made electronically. The Final Rule flows from a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) issued in July 2004 and a Supplemental NOPR issued in April of this year. The standards and protocols established by the Final Rule will make tariff information accessible to the public from FERC’s web site.

    The Final Rule applies to those companies that submit tariff, rates, or contracts with the Commission pursuant to the Natural Gas Act, the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978, the Federal Power Act, the Interstate Commerce Act, the Flood Control Act, the Bonneville Power Act, and the Northwest Power Planning Act. Regional transmission organizations and independent system operators are also required to comply with the Final Rule.

    The Commission indicates that implementation of the Final Rule will begin April 1, 2010 pursuant to a six-month staggered schedule. The Final Rule provides that FERC staff will convene technical conferences with the industries to review development progress and to establish the staggered six-month schedule for initial implementation. The Commission notes it will provide a testing site to determine whether specific companies’ filings can be received and parsed by the Commission before implementation of the Final Rule.

    The North American Energy Standards Board (“NAESB”) has developed the protocols, standards, and data formats needed for the E-Tariff filings discussed in the Final Rule. As noted by the Commission, “Adoption of these standards and protocols will provide each company with enhanced flexibility to develop software to better integrate tariff filings with their individual tariff maintenance and business needs.” The NAESB standards define an extensible market language (“XML”) schema that will permit filers to assemble an XML filing package that includes the tariff changes, the accompanying tariff-related documents, such as the transmittal letter, rate schedules, and spreadsheets that are required to accompany various tariff filings.  The new database will allow users to conduct historical research into tariffs and track activity and will create automatic e-mail notification to an applicant of receipt of a filing and whether the filing has been accepted.

    The Final Rule is available on FERC’s web site at http://www.ferc.gov/whats-new/comm-meet/2008/091808/M-1.pdf