AGA and Van Ness Feldman Release 2015-2016 FERC Manual

June 10, 2015

Washington, DC – The American Gas Association (AGA) and Van Ness Feldman LLP today announced the release of the 2015-2016  Edition of The AGA FERC Manual—A Guide for Local Distribution Companies

Since the enactment of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, in which Congress gave the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) powerful enforcement authority, local distribution companies (LDCs) have made compliance with FERC regulations a particular focus of attention. To assist its members in understanding and addressing these compliance obligations, AGA commissioned this important manual.

The 2015-2016 Edition of the AGA FERC Manual is an authoritative source of information about FERC’s governing statutes, as well as the rules that affect LDCs and other shippers. The AGA FERC Manual is organized to be an easy-to-use reference guide. It includes sections explaining FERC’s regulatory authority, offers insights about working with FERC’s offices, including the Office of Enforcement, and provides guidance about developing and reviewing compliance plans.  Also included in the AGA FERC Manual are summaries of some of the more complex FERC requirements, restrictions, and pronouncements, such as Capacity Release Rules and Penalty Guidelines. The 2015-2016 Edition includes new and revised tables, charts, checklists and hypotheticals.

Lawrence Acker is the principal author and editor of the 2015-2016 AGA FERC Manual. Many other Van Ness Feldman lawyers are contributing authors. Their work on the AGA FERC Manual covers a number of new subjects not included in previous editions, such as:

  • The outcome of FERC’s Gas Electric Harmonization (GEH) initiative to synchronize interstate natural gas pipelines’ nomination and electric industry’s scheduling practices and decisions about whether to require pipelines to offer multiparty firm transportation contracts;
  • The Supreme Court’s decision that state law antitrust claims regarding allegations that manipulation of prices that affected indices used for both jurisdictional and retail sales are not preempted by the Natural Gas Act (NGA);
  • FERC’s amended regulations to allow interstate natural gas pipelines and public utilities that own, operate, or control interstate electric transmission facilities to share non-public, operational information with one another;
  • The implementation of FERC’s requirement that pipelines post notices of offers to purchase released capacity;
  • Tension between definitions of force majeure and compliance with safety mandates;
  • FERC’s developing policies about cost allowances and recovery mechanisms for pipeline safety and environmental upgrades;
  • FERC’s willingness to accept non-conforming provisions in precedent agreements and service agreements for expansion capacity that in contracts for existing capacity might be rejected as unduly discriminatory;
  • FERC’s consideration of whether the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) changed the scope of its authority over facilities developed to promote vehicular use of natural gas and small scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities and pipeline safety laws affecting small scale LNG facilities; and
  • FERC’s focus on an instance of the operation of an effective compliance program in the context of a self-report. 

Video seminars that complement the AGA FERC Manual also will be available. The 2015-2016 Edition of the AGA FERC Manual can be purchased by AGA members and the general public here, using catalogue number AGA JO2015.

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The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States.  There are more than 72 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the United States, of which 94 percent—over 68 million customers—receive their gas from AGA members.  Today, natural gas meets more than one-fourth of the United States’ energy needs.

Van Ness Feldman provides strategic business advice, legal and regulatory compliance counsel, representation in administrative proceedings and litigation, legislative and policy advocacy, and support for development, permitting, and transactions in energy and infrastructure projects.  Van Ness Feldman serves a diverse range of clients including leading LDCs, electric utilities, natural gas and oil production and pipeline interests, renewable energy project developers, manufacturing and industrial concerns, financial institutions, and clean technology companies.  Additional information is available at www.vnf.com.