US FERC allows gas pipeline, power grid operators to share information

Washington (Platts)--15 Nov 2013 646 pm EST/2346 GMT

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission late Friday issued a final rule allowing interstate natural gas pipelines and electric transmission operators to share certain non-public operational information in an effort to improve reliability.

Ensuring "robust communications" between transmission operators in the electric and gas sectors "will help both systems operate reliably and effectively," FERC said in a statement, pointing to the increasing reliance on gas as a fuel for power generation.

To protect against undue discrimination and ensure that the shared information remains confidential, the rule also adopts a "No-Conduit Rule" that prohibits recipients of the information from disclosing it to an affiliate or a third party.

The non-disclosure provision will apply "only to the information that an interstate natural gas pipeline or an electric transmission operator exchange pursuant to this final rule," said FERC, adding that it "does not affect current communications among interstate and intrastate natural gas pipelines, local distribution companies and gatherers regarding conditions affecting gas flows between these physically interconnected parties, nor does it affect communications between transmission system operators and load serving entities."

In response to feedback from interested parties, the commission said electric transmission operators can seek agency authorization if they wish to share information received from an interstate pipeline with a local distribution company.

The final rule is set to take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

--Chris Newkumet, --Edited by Jeff Barber,

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