By Michael Kuser
Responding to protests by National Grid, energy shippers and local distribution companies in New England, FERC on Friday ordered a technical conference on Algonquin Gas Transmission’s proposal to change the terms of its no-notice services (RP17-808).
In June, Algonquin asked the commission to approve an update its no-notice services, last changed in 1993, to reflect its “current practices and operational requirements” and eliminate requirements the company said have become outdated with automation and faster forms of communication.
The changes would clarify that customers under Algonquin’s AFT-E and AFT-ES rate schedules seeking no-notice service must have nominated and scheduled an equal quantity of gas on a pipeline upstream of Algonquin for that day.
It also would specify that the right to change primary delivery points under AFT-E/ES only applies to temporary capacity releases.
On July 27, commission staff issued a delegated order accepting Algonquin’s filing but suspending the changes until Jan. 1, 2018, subject to refund and further commission order.
Janice K. Devers, Algonquin’s director of tariffs, told RTO Insider that “the commission’s directive to convene a technical conference was not a surprise. There is a probably a desire on their part to get clarification on the issues prior to the end of the suspension period on Jann. 1, 2018.”
Energy shippers Direct Energy Business Marketing and Shell Energy North America claimed the revisions to rate schedules AFT- E and AFT-ES would unnecessarily limit the availability of no-notice service by implementing more restrictive eligibility criteria, undercutting the commission’s policy of providing shippers with greater scheduling flexibility.
National Grid asserted that Algonquin had failed to show that the proposed tariff changes are just and reasonable. The company also said that it relies on the right to call on reserved capacity on an intraday basis without needing to submit nominations prior to the start of the gas day. The company said that helps it meet shifting daily demand from its predominately low-load-factor residential and small commercial customers.
Sprague Operating Resources, which operates refined products and materials handling terminals, filed a letter in support of the protests.
In its Sept. 1 order, the commission said it lacked enough information to determine whether Algonquin’s proposed tariff changes are just and reasonable. The commission said that discussion at the conference would not be limited to the issues identified in the order.