FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION
Washington, D. C. 20426
January 8, 1999
In Reply Refer To:
Docket No. AI99-2-000
TO ALL JURISDICTIONAL PUBLIC UTILITIES, LICENSEES,
NATURAL GAS COMPANIES AND OIL PIPELINE COMPANIES
SUBJECT: RECORDS STORAGE MEDIA
The Commission's present regulations1 for long-term storage of records generally require the media form to be paper or microforms. As a result of rapidly changing technological advances, other storage media forms have developed. The alternative storage media often allows for more efficient storage capability. This letter constitutes the requisite authority for public utilities and licensees, natural gas companies and oil pipeline carriers to use storage media other than those specified in our regulations.
1. Question: What types of storage media will the Commission allow?
Response: The Commission will give each jurisdictional company the flexibility to select its own storage media. It will not limit the companies to the currently approved storage media: paper and card stock; magnetic and punched tape; microfilm, including Computer Output Microfilm, microfiche jackets, and aperture cards; updatable microfilm; and metallic recording data strips. This will enable each jurisdictional company to avail itself of the latest technological advances and, depending on its resources and storage requirements, select the most economical and efficient storage media.
2. Question: Is the media selected required to have a life expectancy at least equal to the specified retention period?
Response: The storage media selected must have a life expectancy at least equal to the applicable record retention period unless there is a quality transfer from one media to another with no loss of data.
3. Question: The regulations require that "records supporting plant and licensed project cost shall be retained in their original form, unless microfilmed." Does this requirement still apply?
Response: No, jurisdictional companies are now allowed to retain these records on any type of storage media.
4. Question: What are the jurisdictional companies' internal control responsibilities?
Response: The Commission is concerned that records stored on and produced from machine readable media may be susceptible to accidental alteration, or incorrect processing. Accordingly, each jurisdictional company is required to implement internal control procedures that assure the reliability of and ready access to data stored on machine readable media. When records are transferred, each transfer of data from one media to another must be verified for accuracy and documented. Similarly, the software and hardware required to produce readable records must be retained for the same period the media format selected is used.
5. Question: What is the effective date of this authorization?
Response: This authorization is effective immediately. The use of any type of storage media may be implemented without obtaining specific authorization from the Commission to do so.
By direction of the Commission. David P. Boergers
- 1. See 18 C.F.R. 125.2 (d) (1), 18 C.F.R. 225.2 (d) (1), and 18 C.F.R. 356.6 (a) (1998).