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FERC OKs settlements of rate investigations into Columbia Gulf, Tuscarora

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FERC OKs settlements of rate investigations into Columbia Gulf, Tuscarora

FERC approved settlements that ended its investigations intonatural gas transportation rates at the pipeline companies andTuscarora Gas TransmissionCo.

During its monthly meeting Sept. 22, FERC approved anuncontested agreement with Columbia Gulf that settled all issues in its case.An article of the settlement that establishes rates and refunds reduces a dailymaximum recourse firm transportation rate from 14.11 cents to 13.71 cents perDth. The order requires the company to file revised tariff records within 30days. The commission found the settlement to be in the public interest.(RP16-302)

In the other order, FERC approved an uncontested settlementwith Tuscarora that resolved all the issues that surfaced during its rateinvestigation. The order also approved an Aug. 1 tariff filing that puts thesettlement terms into practice. Under the agreement, a first-phase maximumreservation rate dropped from $10.0375 per Dth-month to $8.3615 per Dth-month.The second phase, which would go into effect in three years unless there isanother rate filing, would lower that amount further, to $7.7532 per Dth-month.(RP16-299, RP16-1137)

Speaking at the meeting, Chairman Norman Bay said the caseswere part of the agency's coreresponsibility to make sure rates are just and reasonable.

"The settlements reflect the commission's ongoing workto review rates and to take action when necessary or appropriate to ensure thatrates remain just and reasonable," Bay said at the end of the meeting.

Noting that the two settlements stemmed from commissioninvestigations under Section 5 of the Natural Gas Act, Bay said this is"an example of the way in which the commission uses its authority toensure that the interests of consumers are safeguarded."

In January, FERC announced Section 5 rate investigation into four interstategas pipeline companies: Columbia Gulf, Tuscarora, and National Fuel GasCo.'s Empire PipelineInc. The commission said it will try to determine whether thecompanies had over-recovered their costs with "unjust and unreasonablerates." Observers expected the cases to be settled quickly.

Tuscarora is a subsidiary of TransCanada Corp. After TransCanada its purchase of onJuly 1, Columbia Gulf became part of TransCanada, too. Iroquois is owned byaffiliates of TransCanada, Dominion Resources Inc. and .