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IHS CERA 2015: FERC decides not to fix unbroken system: commissioner


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has changed its strategy for trying to bring the natural gas and electric power industries into closer cooperation after getting an earful from the former group, FERC Commissioner Colette Honorable said Wednesday in Houston.

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Speaking on a panel at IHS CERAWeek, Honorable said that after a year of listening to representatives of the natural gas industry, who were universally opposed to the proposal, the commission last week moved to drop its efforts to shift the start time of the natural gas day in an effort to improve reliability at gas-fired power plants.

"The evidence in the record did not support [the move to change the start of the gas day]," she said on the sidelines of the conference.

FERC, however, will continue its efforts to bring the two energy industries in harmony with one another, largely by working through regional transmission organizations, which are more in touch with local market conditions, Honorable said.

FERC in March 2014 issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to move the start of the gas day from 9 am Central time to 4 am to prevent gas supply problems during the morning electric ramp-up period.

The change was proposed to meet the needs of some gas-fired power generators who said a 4 am start time would better match gas shipments with peak power demand.

The commission took comments from all segments of the natural gas industry, from upstream producers to pipeline operators, Honorable said during the panel discussion.

"We managed to unify all the gas sectors ... against changing the start of the gas day," she said.

The gas industry's response to the proposed rulemaking was that in most regions of the country the gas pipeline and electric generation industries were working well with one another.

Honorable said FERC would concentrate its coordination efforts on those regions where problems between the two industries arose.

"If it's not broken, we don't need to fix it," she said in her sideline comments.

--Jim Magill,
--Edited by Jason Lindquist,