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NARUC Approves Resolution Supporting Refund Authority for Natural Gas Act

By Dave Schryver posted 02-13-2020 12:04 PM

  
On February 12, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) approved a resolution expressing support for the passage of federal legislation to amend the Natural Gas Act and provide the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with the authority to order refunds when it has been demonstrated that a pipeline has over-collected. NARUC represents the state public service commissions who regulate the utilities that provide energy, telecommunications, power, water, and transportation services. NARUC's members include all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

APGA has long-pushed for the passage of legislation to amend the Natural Gas Act to make it consistent with the Federal Power Act so that FERC may order refunds when it has been proven that consumers were overcharged for the regulated transportation of energy to their homes and businesses. In response to NARUC’s adoption of the resolution, APGA released the following statement “APGA supports NARUC’s recognition of the inequity between the Federal Power Act and the Natural Gas Act in FERC’s consumer protection authorities. Under the Federal Power Act, if a rate complaint is filed and FERC later rules that transmission rates paid by the customers were unjust and unreasonable, FERC has the authority to make a just and reasonable rate effective to when the complaint case began. That means customers receive refunds, including interest, of the overcharges that persist during the lengthy rate inquiry.

“FERC does not have the same authority under Section 5 of the Natural Gas Act. If FERC finds that interstate pipeline transmission rates are too high, it can only change rates prospectively. This means FERC does not have the authority to order interstate pipelines to refund overcharges. There is no good reason to treat gas and electric consumers differently, as natural gas consumers have been overcharged hundreds of millions of dollars by regulated interstate pipelines annually. APGA looks forward to working with NARUC and a host of other natural gas consumer groups towards the passage of legislation to fix this inequity and provide natural gas consumers with the protection they deserve.”
This Congress, we have seen the introduction of bipartisan legislation addressing this in the House and Senate and APGA testified in a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on this issue during the first week in February.

For questions on this article, please contact Dave Schryver of APGA staff by phone at 202-464-2742 or by email at dschryver@apga.org.
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