On Friday, April 13, 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order on the protest filed by NPGA and 84 other companies and state associations against the TEPPCO rate increase. The FERC order suspends the proposed rate increases for the entire maximum 7 month period allowed by law, or until November 16, 2012. The last time FERC suspended a tariff for the entire statutory period was in a rate case over 20 years ago, back in 1990.
In its order, FERC "concludes that immediate implementation of the substantial rate increases proposed by Enterprise could have an immediate and overwhelming impact on NGL shippers on the Enterprise system". The commission also ordered that a hearing schedule be established to address the issues raised by TEPPCO's filing and our protest, and that an administrative law judge be designated to convene a prehearing conference within 20 days of the order.
On April 16, 2012 the FERC Chief Judge designated Administrative Law Judge Edward M. Silverstein as the presiding judge at the hearing. Interestingly, Judge Silverstein presided over NPGA's years-long litigation against the rate increases on the Mid-America Pipeline (MAPL) that was ultimately settled favorably in 2009.
Furthermore, the Chief Judge stated that this proceeding is subject to Track III of FERC's procedural time standards, which means that this case is considered an "Exceptionally Complex Case". A hearing date will be set 42 weeks from now, the deadline for reply briefs to the Judge is in 53 weeks, and an initial decision date 63 weeks from now.
Clearly NPGA is in this for the long haul. A special "thank you" goes out to all participating companies in the protest. Without your support we might not have achieved this dramatic result. It is also important to note that additional companies desiring to join the protest may do so, and should contact Phil Squair NPGA's Senior Vice President for Public and Governmental Affairs, at 202-466-7200
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