Federal Energy Regulator Rejects Claims Of Natural Gas Pipeline Withholding In New England
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concluded that there was no evidence of anticompetitive withholding of natural gas pipeline capacity in New England as alleged in a white paper published in August 2017 by the Environmental Defense Fund.
In the white paper, EDF, a non profit that advocates for market-based environmental policies, asserted that local gas distribution companies in New England had “engaged in practices to withhold pipeline capacity on the Algonquin system in order to drive up gas and/or power prices in the region,” according to a FERC press release.
To investigate the allegations of withholding, FERC staff members conducted an extensive review of both publicly available and non-public data that assessed the veracity of EDF’s claims that natural gas pipeline capacity had been withheld. The review found no evidence of capacity withholding. Instead, the FERC determined that EDF’s study was flawed and led to incorrect conclusions about the alleged withholding.
The interstate pipeline system supplying natural gas to New England frequently operates at full capacity, especially during the winter months when natural gas demand for heating rises.
Six interstate pipelines serve New England’s gas consumers, but the two biggest pipelines (in terms of capacity) are the Tennessee Gas Pipeline and the Algonquin Gas Transmission pipeline, which collectively account for more than half of the total natural gas supply that can be delivered into New England. …