At its September meeting, FERC approved its final rule, Order No. 714, adopting a means by which FERC-regulated utilities will electronically file tariffs, rate schedules and other jurisdictional contracts and agreements. Adopting standards developed by the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) and the Association of Oil Pipelines, Order No. 714 requires tariff filings in conformance with a new "XML schema" that proscribes the metadata elements and textual information that must be included in a tariff filing package. FERC envisions an integrated, single tariff filing system that affords information as to the status of tariff provisions, permits the assembly of a complete tariff in one location (as opposed to piecemeal across different dockets as tariffs change) and makes tariff-related research more efficient. Order No. 714 is applicable to all FERC-regulated utilities, including those in the electric, natural gas and oil industries. In addition, public utilities with Open Access Transmission Tariffs (OATT) that adopted the pro forma Small Generator Interconnection Procedures (SGIP) and Small Generator Interconnection Agreement (SGIA) and chose to delay incorporation of them into their OATTs must incorporate them in their baseline tariff filing required in Order No. 714.

Initially, FERC will require each regulated entity to submit a "baseline tariff filing" of certain existing tariff documents. For electric utilities, the baseline filing includes OATTs, power sales tariffs available to any customer and market-based rate tariffs. It does not include individually negotiated rate schedules or agreements. For interstate natural gas pipelines, the baseline filing will include existing Volume No. 1 tariffs, but not special rate schedules included in Volume No. 2 tariffs or existing negotiated rate or non-conforming service agreements. Intrastate and Hinshaw pipelines will have to file their statements of operating conditions including their interstate service rates. Order No. 714 also revises FERC's regulations to permit electronic service of tariff filings according to the same procedures for other forms of service under FERC's regulations.

Recognizing that the new electronic filing format will require extensive software development and testing, FERC has adopted an 18-month implementation period (until April 1, 2010), with a staggered implementation schedule over the next six months that will be developed by FERC staff and industry commenters going forward. In addition, FERC intends to hold several technical conferences concerning the new filing process.

In addition, in Order No. 2006 adopting the pro forma SGIP and SGIA, FERC deferred public utilities' obligation to incorporate the SGIP and SGIA into their OATTs "until compliance is due in FERC's rulemaking on Electronic Tariff Filings." Thus, public utilities with OATTs that adopted the pro forma SGIP and SGIA and chose to delay incorporation of them into their OATTs must do so in their baseline tariff filing required in Order No. 714.

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