FERC Declines to Change “Gas Day” Start Time; Adopts Other Proposed Natural Gas Scheduling and Contracting Changes
On April 16, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a final rulemaking order (Order No. 809 in Docket RM14-2-000) in which it declined to adopt the controversial proposed change in the “Gas Day” start time.
In March 2014, FERC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) in which it proposed to change the start of the “Gas Day” – the 24-hour period during which natural gas transportation through pipelines is nominated and scheduled – from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. Central Clock Time (CCT). The NOPR was part of FERC’s ongoing effort to promote electric supply reliability by encouraging improved coordination between the natural gas and electric power industries.
The proposed change in the Gas Day was FERC’s response to electric industry requests to make the Gas Day coincide with the electric day, which generally begins at 12:00 midnight local time. Noting the benefit of a standardized nationwide Gas Day, rather than one that begins at different times, FERC declined to make this change. Instead, FERC proposed changes in the Gas Day that it reasoned would promote electric generation efficiency by allowing generators to schedule their gas transportation and supply on a day-ahead basis. In addition, FERC noted that the 4:00 a.m. Gas Day would start before the morning ramp-up in electric demand. With the current 9:00 a.m. CCT Gas Day, the morning ramp-up occurs near the end of each Gas Day, a time at which there is little flexibility for generators to arrange changes in gas supply and transportation arrangements.