[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 145 (Tuesday, July 29, 2014)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 43994-43998]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-17232]



Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

18 CFR Part 154

[Docket No. RM14-21-000]

Natural Gas Act Pipeline Maps

AGENCY: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) 
is proposing to amend the filing requirements for natural gas pipeline 
system maps. Under current regulations, natural gas pipelines must 
include a system map as part of their tariff on file with the 
Commission, and file an updated map by the following April for any year 
that there is a major change in the pipeline's system. Additionally, 
this map must be posted on the pipeline's own Web site. In order to 
reduce regulatory burden on these pipelines, the Commission proposes to 
eliminate the requirement to file a map as part of the tariff, leaving 
only the requirement to maintain a map on the pipeline's own Web site.
    Furthermore, in order to promote transparency, the Commission 
proposes to change the deadline for updating system maps. Currently, if 
a pipeline experiences a major change that renders its existing map 
obsolete, it must make a tariff filing no later than April 30 of the 
subsequent calendar year. The Commission proposes a quarterly deadline 
for updating pipeline maps.

[[Page 43995]]

DATES: Comments are due September 29, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Comments, identified by docket number, may be filed in the 
following ways:
     Electronic Filing through http://www.ferc.gov. Documents 
created electronically using word processing software should be filed 
in native applications or print-to-PDF format and not in a scanned 
     Mail/Hand Delivery: Those unable to file electronically 
may mail or hand-deliver comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., 
Washington, DC 20426.
    Instructions: For detailed instructions on submitting comments and 
additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Comment 
Procedures Section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Damien Gaul (Technical Issues), 888 
First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8008, 
[email protected]. Vince Mareino (Legal Issues), 888 First Street 
NE., Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-6167, [email protected].


Table of Contents

I. Background..............................................            2
II. Discussion.............................................            5
    A. Proposed Changes....................................            5
    B. Scope...............................................           10
III. Information Collection Statement......................           13
IV. Environmental Analysis.................................           18
V. Regulatory Flexibility Act..............................           19
VI. Comment Procedures.....................................           21
VII. Document Availability.................................           25

    1. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) is 
proposing to revise its regulations regarding the requirement that 
interstate natural gas pipelines subject to our jurisdiction under the 
Natural Gas Act (NGA) \1\ file the system maps as part of their 
tariffs. Currently, pursuant to sections 154.103 and 154.106 of our 
regulations,\2\ natural gas pipelines must have a system map in their 
tariffs on file with the Commission and, pursuant to section 
284.12(a)(1)(v),\3\ on the tariff section of their Web sites. In order 
to reduce regulatory burden on these pipelines, the Commission proposes 
to eliminate the requirement that natural gas pipelines have a system 
map on file with the Commission but retain the requirement to post the 
system map on their Web sites. Furthermore, in order to promote 
transparency, the Commission is also proposing to change the deadline 
for updating maps. Natural gas pipeline companies would be required to 
update the map on their Web site within the calendar quarter of any 
major system change instead of annually by April 30.

    \1\ 15 U.S.C. 717.
    \2\ 18 CFR 154.103 and 154.106 (2013).
    \3\ 18 CFR 284.12(a)(1)(v) (2013).

I. Background

    2. The Commission has required natural gas pipelines to include 
system maps in their tariffs since 1948.\4\ The Commission made 
clarifying modifications to the original regulation in 1995,\5\ and 
edits to accommodate electronic tariff filing (eTariff) in 2008.\6\ The 
current-day map publication regulation, 18 CFR 154.106, states: a. The 
map must show the general geographic location of the company's 
principal pipeline facilities and of the points at which service is 
rendered under the tariff. The boundaries of any rate zones or rate 
areas must be shown and the areas or zones identified. The entire 
system should be displayed on a single map. In addition, a separate map 
should be provided for each zone. b. [Reserved]. c. The map must be 
revised to reflect any major changes. The revised map must be filed no 
later than April 30 of the calendar year after the major change.\7\

    \4\ Amendment of Regulations and Approved Forms Under the 
Natural Gas Act, to Prescribe Revised Rules Governing the Form, 
Composition, Filing, and Posting of Rate Schedules and Tariffs for 
the Transportation or Sale of Natural Gas Subject to the 
Jurisdiction of the Commission, Order No. 144, 13 FR 6371, 6374 
(issued Oct. 28, 1948, published Oct. 30, 1948, corrected Nov. 12, 
    \5\ Filing and Reporting Requirements for Interstate Natural Gas 
Company Rate Schedules and Tariffs, Order No. 582, 60 FR 52,960, 
FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 31,025 (1995).
    \6\ Electronic Tariff Filings, Order No. 714, 73 FR 57,515, FERC 
Stats. & Regs. ] 31,276 (2008) clarified, Order No. 714-A, 147 FERC 
] 61,115 (2014).
    \7\ 18 CFR 154.106.

    3. As with other parts of tariffs, pipeline system maps must be 
filed with the Commission solely in electronic format. Order No. 714 
required that all natural gas pipeline tariffs and tariff revisions, 
including those concerning system maps, be filed electronically 
according to a set of standards developed in conjunction with the North 
American Energy Standards Board (NAESB).\8\ Moreover, under NAESB 
Wholesale Gas Quadrant Standard 4.3.23, and as incorporated by 
reference in section 284.12(a)(1)(v) of the Commission's 
regulations,\9\ each pipeline must display its entire tariff (including 
the map) on its Web site. Pipeline system maps, however, are often 
created using specialized software, and can be densely populated with 
data. These factors have created constraints in the ability of 
pipelines to file maps as part of their electronically filed tariffs. 
For example, eTariff limits the size of all individual tariff records 
to 10 megabytes.\10\ Further, system maps may only be filed in one of 
two electronic formats, RTF or PDF.\11\ In practice, it is technically 
difficult to create and file a map in RTF. Further, pipelines have 
informed Commission Staff that converting their maps to a small-size 
PDF often compels them to reduce the quality of the maps.

    \8\ Order No. 714, FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 31,276 at P 1.
    \9\ 18 CFR 284.12(a)(1)(v).
    \10\ See Implementation Guide for Electronic Filing of Parts 35, 
154, 284, 300, and 341 Tariff Filings (April 29, 2014) Data 
Dictionary, Record Binary Data, available at <http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/etariff/implementation-guide.pdf>.
    \11\ Id. at Data Dictionary, Record Content Type Code. RTF 
refers to Rich Text Format which is a standardized textual formal 
that can be produced by a number of word processors. PDF refers to 
Portable Document Format, which is a format used for representing 
documents that closely resembles the original formatting of the 

    4. As noted, the current regulation requires the filing of an 
updated map only if there is a major change, and thus not all pipelines 
have major changes requiring such a filing every year. Over the past 
three years, the Commission received an average of 21 filings per year 
that were exclusively pursuant to section 154.106. Additionally, 
pipelines sometimes file system maps intermittently throughout the year 
as part of more general tariff filings.

II. Discussion

A. Proposed Changes

    5. The Commission proposes two changes to the gas pipeline map

[[Page 43996]]

regulations with the aim of promoting transparency and reducing 
regulatory burden. In an effort to reduce regulatory burden, the 
Commission proposes to eliminate the requirement that system maps be 
filed in as part of natural gas pipeline tariffs. In the place of 
system maps, the Commission proposes to require that pipelines provide 
a tariff record that contains a Web site address, or uniform resource 
locator (URL) reference, to the pipeline's publicly available Web site 
where maps may be accessed. The Commission proposes that natural gas 
pipelines post their system maps on the Informational Postings portion 
of their respective Web sites in accordance with applicable NAESB 
standards. Upon the adoption of this rule, NAESB should also consider 
whether additional standards are needed to assure accessibility and 
uniformity in the presentation of the maps.
    6. The proposal to eliminate the map filing requirement effectively 
renders the April 30 regulatory deadline obsolete. Thus, in order to 
ensure a higher level of transparency, the Commission proposes to 
require pipelines to update system maps more promptly, so that 
customers and potential customers can obtain a realistic picture of the 
pipeline's configuration, its zone boundaries, and the areas to which 
its rates apply. While zone boundaries do not often change, the markets 
pipelines serve do change more frequently as pipelines add laterals, 
extend mainlines, abandon plant or change operations. Requiring 
pipelines to update their maps in the calendar quarter that they 
implement a major system change will enhance transparency by ensuring 
that shippers have an accurate depiction of the pipeline in a timelier 
    7. Pursuant to the Commission's current regulatory structure, 
pipelines must already provide new tariff language or maps in 
advance.\12\ While we continue to encourage such promptness, for the 
purposes of section 154.106, the Commission proposes to reduce the 
current lag period to a calendar quarter.\13\ Because it is relatively 
rare for pipelines to engage in major changes that require new maps 
more than once a year, this change should only slightly increase the 
number of Web site map updates but it will increase the public's 
confidence that a pipeline's map is up-to-date and relevant. 
Furthermore, connecting map update deadlines to the calendar quarter 
will assist those pipelines that prefer specified calendar dates for 
their compliance obligations. Accordingly, the Commission proposes to 
define the new deadline as follows (new language in bold): ``The map 
must be revised to reflect any major change no later than the end of 
the calendar quarter of the major change.''

    \12\ Currently, section 4 of the Natural Gas Act obligates 
pipelines to announce the proposed tariff changes to terms, 
conditions, and rates at least 30 days before the change goes into 
effect. Pipelines often include maps with these filings in order to 
meet the burden of demonstrating justness and reasonableness. Most 
filings under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act expressly require a 
map, as per Commission regulations. E.g., 18 CFR 157.208, 157.211, 
157.213, 157.214, 157.215, 157.216 (2013).
    \13\ ``Calendar quarter'' has its standard meaning, as used, 
e.g., in 18 CFR 141.400 and 284.126 (2013): January 1 through March 
31, April 1 through June 30, July 1 through September 30, and 
October 1 through December 31.

    8. Furthermore, just as all tariff records, including tariff maps, 
must have an effective date under the current regulations, the 
Commission will also require Web site maps to display an effective 
date. Pipelines are also permitted to display maps showing past, 
future, or hypothetical operations, so long as these maps are clearly 
labeled as such.
    9. The Commission is taking this action as part of our commitment 
to continually review our regulations and eliminate those requirements 
that impose an unnecessary burden on regulated entities. We find that 
our proposal to have pipelines incorporate the system map by reference 
to a location on their Web sites will retain all of the transparency 
and consumer safeguards embodied in the Commission's existing 
regulations. However, it will eliminate approximately 21 filings each 
year, and the concomitant technical burdens of conforming maps to the 
eTariff requirements, thereby reducing the regulatory burden on the 
pipelines and the Commission.

B. Scope

    10. The Commission emphasizes that the only change contemplated by 
this Proposed Rule is to the filing requirements for system maps in the 
eTariff system, sections 154.103 and 154.106 of the Commission's 
regulations. Other filing requirements, including the system flow 
diagrams and maps in Form 567,\14\ Exhibits F and G,\15\ and Exhibits V 
and Z,\16\ are unchanged and are not the subject of this proceeding.

    \14\ 18 CFR 260.8 (2013).
    \15\ 18 CFR 157.14(a)(6) through (9) (2013).
    \16\ 18 CFR 157.18(c) and (g) (2013).

    11. Additionally, this Proposed Rule does not affect the 
substantive content of the map, as defined in the existing regulation 
(e.g., ``general geographic location'' and ``the boundaries of any rate 
zones or rate areas must be shown''). Nor does it affect the triggering 
event for filing a new map (i.e., ``major change''). By freeing 
pipelines of the need to convert their maps into small-sized RTF or PDF 
files, the Commission predicts that the overall quality of pipeline 
maps will improve without the need for prescriptive regulation.
    12. The Commission proposes that, on the first day of the calendar 
quarter that starts 90 days after the Final Rule is published in the 
Federal Register, all pipelines would file a compliance tariff filing. 
This compliance filing would revise their respective tariffs to remove 
their system maps and provide the Web site address or URL reference. 
Assuming that pipelines do not change their URL reference, all future 
map updates should be able to be made without need for making any 
filing with the Commission.

III. Information Collection Statement

    13. The following collections of information contained in this 
proposed rule are being submitted to the Office of Management and 
Budget (OMB) for review under section 3507(d) of the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995, 44 U.S.C. 3507(d).
    14. The Commission solicits comments on the Commission's need for 
this information, whether the information will have practical utility, 
the accuracy of the provided burden estimates, ways to enhance the 
quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected, and 
any suggested methods for minimizing respondents' burden, including the 
use of automated information techniques.
    15. The following burden estimates reflect the time necessary for 
respondents to update their tariffs according to this proposed rule, as 
well as the burden reduction as respondents will no longer have to file 
system map adjustments. Also, there is a small burden increase to 
account for the proposed requirement that pipelines update their system 
maps on a more frequent basis than annually. The Commission bases the 
estimated number of respondents on the number of Natural Gas Act 
jurisdictional companies with tariffs on file, accounting for companies 
that have waivers. The Commission assumes that in the first year the 
only difference in burden for respondents is to make the one time 
tariff changes estimated at eight hours per respondent. In each year, 
starting in the second, the Commission estimates that approximately 21 
respondents per year will experience a four hour reduction in

[[Page 43997]]

burden from no longer filing system map adjustments with the 
Commission. Also starting in the second year, the Commission estimates 
that approximately four respondents will see an increase of four hours 
per year in order to update their maps more frequently. The following 
table shows the proposed rule burden hour impact.

                                                   Total number    Burden hours    Total annual    Total annual
                                                   of responses    per response    burden hours      cost \17\
                                                        (A)             (B)        (C) = (A)*(B)   =(C)*($/hour)
One-time tariff filing (year 1).................             165               8           1,320  $168,960 ($128/
Burden Reduction (year 2 and beyond)............              21               4             -84         -$5,124
Additional burden for more frequent map updates                4               4              16            $976
 (year 2 and beyond)............................                                                        ($61/hr)
    Total--Year 1...............................             165               8           1,320        $168,960
    Total--Year 2 and beyond....................             -17               4             -68         -$4,148


    \17\ The estimates for Total Annual Cost are derived using the 
following formula: Total Annual Burden Hours * $ per Hour = Total 
Annual Cost. For the one-time tariff filing the hourly loaded (wage 
plus benefits) wage is $128 and is based on the loaded wage of an 
attorney. For the burden reduction and additional updates the hourly 
loaded wage is $61 and is based on the loaded wage of a civil 
engineer and a computer/math specialist. The hourly wage figures 
come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) at <http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/naics2_22.htm> and the benefits are 
calculated using BLS information at <http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecec.nr0.htm>. Each response to the proposed regulation 
in Column A is expected to correspond to a unique respondent. As a 
result, total number of responses equals the expected total number 
of respondents.

    Title: FERC-545, Gas Pipeline Rates: Non Formal.
    Action: One-time filing and reduced future filings.
    OMB Control Number: 1902-0154.
    Respondents: Natural Gas Pipelines.
    Frequency of Responses: One-time implementation and future 
reduction in number of responses. Responses are mandatory.
    Necessity of Information: The proposals in this Proposed Rule 
would, if implemented, reduce the burden of interstate natural gas 
pipelines resulting from compliance with the Commission's regulations.
    Internal Review: The Commission has reviewed the requirements 
pertaining to proposed modification of the Commission's regulations and 
made a preliminary determination that the proposed revisions are 
necessary to reduce the burden imposed by the Commission on the natural 
gas industry. The Commission has assured itself, by means of its 
internal review, that there is specific, objective support for the 
burden estimates associated with the information requirements.
    16. Interested persons may obtain information on the reporting 
requirements by contacting the following: Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, 888 First Street NE., Washington, DC 20426 [Attention: 
Ellen Brown, Office of the Executive Director, email: 
[email protected], phone: (202) 502-8663, fax: (202) 273-0873].
    17. Comments concerning the collection of information and the 
associated burden estimate, should be sent to the Commission in this 
docket and to the Office of Management and Budget, Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs, Washington, DC 20503 [Attention: 
Desk Officer for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, telephone: 
(202) 395-4638, fax: (202) 395-4718].

IV. Environmental Analysis

    18. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement for any action that may 
have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.\18\ The 
Commission has categorically excluded certain actions from these 
requirements as not having a significant effect on the human 
environment.\19\ The actions proposed here fall within categorical 
exclusions in the Commission's regulations for rules that are 
clarifying, corrective, or procedural, for information gathering, 
analysis, and dissemination, and for sales, exchange, and 
transportation of natural gas that requires no construction of 
facilities.\20\ Therefore, an environmental assessment is unnecessary 
and has not been prepared as part of this NOPR.

    \18\ Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, Order No. 486, FERC Stats. & Regs. ] 30,783 (1987).
    \19\ 18 CFR 380.4 (2013).
    \20\ See 18 CFR 380.4(a)(2)(ii), 380.4(a)(5), 380.4(a)(27) 

V. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    19. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) \21\ generally 
requires a description and analysis of final rules that will have 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The RFA mandates consideration of regulatory alternatives that 
accomplish the stated objectives of a proposed rule and that minimize 
any significant economic impact on a substantial number of small 
entities. The Small Business Administration's (SBA) Office of Size 
Standards develops the numerical definition of a small business.\22\ 
The SBA has established a size standard for pipelines transporting 
natural gas, stating that a firm is small if its annual receipts are 
less than $25.5 million.\23\

    \21\ 5 U.S.C. 601-612.
    \22\ 13 CFR 121.101 (2013).
    \23\ 13 CFR 121.201, subsection 486.

    20. The changes proposed here only impact interstate pipelines. 
Approximately 165 entities would be potential respondents subject to 
data collection FERC-545 reporting requirements. More than half of 
these entities are large entities. Using 2013 revenue data from the 
Form 2 and 2A, the Commission estimates that 19 percent or 26 total 
pipelines not affiliated with larger companies had annual revenues of 
less than $25.5 million. Moreover, these changes are designed to 
benefit all customers, including small businesses. The Commission 
estimates that the one-time cost per small entity is $1,024.\24\ In the 
future, small entities should see a cost savings related to avoiding 
filing requirements related to system maps. The Commission does not 
consider the estimated $1,024 impact per entity to be significant. 
Accordingly, pursuant to Sec.  605(b) of the RFA, the Commission 
certifies that this proposed rule should not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.

    \24\ See the Information Collection section for further 

VI. Comment Procedures

    21. The Commission invites interested persons to submit written 
comments on the proposed regulation modifications promulgated in this 
NOPR, as well as

[[Page 43998]]

any related matters or alternative proposals that commenters may wish 
to discuss. Comments are due September 29, 2014. Comments must refer to 
Docket No. RM14-21-000, and must include the commenter's name, the 
organization they represent, if applicable, and their address. Comments 
may be filed either in electronic or paper format.
    22. The Commission encourages comments to be filed electronically 
via the eFiling link on the Commission's Web site at <http://www.ferc.gov>. The Commission accepts most standard word processing 
formats. Documents created electronically using word processing 
software should be filed in native applications or print-to-PDF format 
and not in a scanned format. Commenters filing electronically do not 
need to make a paper filing.
    23. Commenters that are not able to file comments electronically 
must send an original of their comments to: Federal Energy Regulatory 
Commission, Secretary of the Commission, 888 First Street NE., 
Washington, DC 20426.
    24. All comments will be placed in the Commission's public files 
and may be viewed, printed, or downloaded remotely as described in the 
Document Availability Section below. Commenters on this proposal are 
not required to serve copies of their comments on other commenters.

VII. Document Availability

    25. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the 
Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an 
opportunity to view and/or print the contents of this document via the 
Internet through the Commission's Home Page <http://www.ferc.gov and in the Commission's Public Reference Room 
during normal business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern time) at 
888 First Street NE., Room 2A, Washington, DC 20426.
    26. From the Commission's Home Page on the Internet, this 
information is available on eLibrary. The full text of this document is 
available on eLibrary in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, 
printing, and/or downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type 
the docket number excluding the last three digits of this document in 
the docket number field.
    27. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the Commission's 
Web site during normal business hours from the Commission's Online 
Support at (202) 502-6652 (toll free at 1-866-208-3676) or email at 
[email protected], or the Public Reference Room at (202) 502-
8371, TTY (202) 502-8659. Email the Public Reference Room at 
[email protected].

List of Subjects in 18 CFR Part 154

    Natural Gas, Pipelines, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    By direction of the Commission.

    Issued: July 17, 2014.
Nathaniel J. Davis, Sr.,
Deputy Secretary.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission proposes to amend 
Part 154, Chapter I, Title 18, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 154 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  15 U.S.C. 717-717w; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 42 U.S.C. 7102-
2. Revise Sec.  154.103(a) to read as follows:

Sec.  154.103  Composition of tariff.

    (a) The tariff must contain sections, in the following order: A 
table of contents, a preliminary statement, a uniform resource locator 
for the Internet address of a map of the system, currently effective 
rates, composition of rate schedules, general terms and conditions, 
form of service agreement, and an index of customers.
* * * * *
3. Revise Sec.  154.106 to read as follows:

Sec.  154.106  Map.

    (a) The tariff must state a uniform resource locator on the 
pipeline's Internet Web site, at which the general public may display 
and download system map(s).
    (b) The map must show the general geographic location of the 
company's principal pipeline facilities and of the points at which 
service is rendered under the tariff. The boundaries of any rate zones 
or rate areas must be shown and the areas or zones identified. The 
entire system should be displayed on a single map. In addition, a 
separate map should be provided for each zone.
    (c) The map must be revised to reflect any major change no later 
than the end of the calendar quarter of the major change.
[FR Doc. 2014-17232 Filed 7-28-14; 8:45 am]