Commissioner James Danly Statement
February 23, 2021
Docket No. 

I agree with the Commission’s order in this proceeding clarifying its ruling in the October 2020 Order.[1]  I write separately, however, because at the same time the Commission has provided useful clarification on one issue, it inadvertently fails to eliminate confusion created by the October 2020 Order as to a second issue.  Specifically, in the October 2020 Order, the Commission stated, “we shall accept for filing and suspend [Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG, LP’s (DECP)] tariff records to be effective November 1, 2020, subject to refund and the outcome of the proceeding[s]” regarding the cash-out reconciliation mechanism of Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC.[2]  The problem with this language is that nowhere in its order does the Commission state that it is setting DECP’s tariff records for hearing, which under Natural Gas Act (NGA) section 4 is the statutory prerequisite for the Commission to suspend a rate filing and make it subject to refund.[3]  To prevent future confusion, the Commission should draft its orders to accept the proposed tariff records subject to hearing and hold that hearing in abeyance pending the outcome of the separate proceedings.  Not only will this drafting provide more clarity but will avoid potential violations of the NGA.[4]

For these reasons, I respectfully concur.


[1] Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG, LP, 173 FERC ¶ 61,110 (2020) (October 2020 Order).

[2] Id. P 10.

[3]  Section 4 provides that:

Whenever any such new schedule is filed the Commission shall have authority . . . to enter upon a hearing concerning the lawfulness of such rate, . . . and, pending such hearing . . . the Commission . . . may suspend the operation of such schedule . . . but not for a longer period than five months . . . .  If the proceeding has not been concluded and an order made at the expiration of the suspension period, . . . the proposed change of rate, charge, classification, or service shall go into effect.  Where increased rates or charges are thus made effective, the Commission may, by order, require the natural-gas company . . . to refund, with interest, the portion of such increased rates or charges by its decision found not justified.

15 U.S.C. § 717c(e) (emphasis added).

[4] See my dissent in Columbia Gas Transmission, LLC, 174 FERC ¶ 61,070 (2021).

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