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The Process of Negotiating Settlements at FERC

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  • Littlechild, S.

Abstract

Interstate gas pipelines and their customers presently settle about 90% of the rate cases set for hearing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). In recent years, the median time for negotiating settlements and having them approved is about 11 months, compared to several years to complete litigated hearings. This paper explores how this is achieved. FERC has a tight schedule for the hearing process. In contrast to other jurisdictions, FERC Trial Staff play an active role in facilitating negotiation and settlement. They propose a first settlement offer 3 months after a pipeline files for a tariff rate increase. An analysis of the 9 cases over the last two years where full and uncontested settlement was reached shows that discussions led by Trial Staff led to agreement in principle in a median time of 2 ½ months after this first offer, just before testimony would otherwise need to have been filed. It took a further 2 ½ months for the parties to finalise the wording of the settlement and to obtain the judge’s certification that it was uncontested, and 3 months for FERC formally to approve it. FERC’s settlement process has worked successfully and essentially unchanged for over 35 years. It suggests a more active role for the regulatory body than was previously apparent.

Suggested Citation

  • Littlechild, S., 2011. "The Process of Negotiating Settlements at FERC," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1116, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1116
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Federico Boffa & Viswanath Pingali & Francesca Sala, 2015. "Strategic investment in merchant transmission: the impact of capacity utilization rules," Working Papers 2015/12, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    2. Littlechild, Stephen C., 2012. "Australian airport regulation: Exploring the frontier," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 50-62.
    3. Stephen Littlechild, 2012. "Merchant and regulated transmission: theory, evidence and policy," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 308-335, December.
    4. Littlechild, S., 2011. "Regulation, customer protection and customer engagement," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1142, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    5. Boffa, Federico & Pingali, Viswanath & Sala, Francesca, 2015. "Strategic investment in merchant transmission: The impact of capacity utilization rules," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 455-463.
    6. Bordignon, Stephen & Littlechild, Stephen, 2012. "The Hunter Valley access undertaking: Elements of a negotiated settlement," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 179-187.
    7. Chakravorty, Shourjo, 2015. "A study of the negotiated-settlement practice in regulation: Some evidence from Florida," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 12-18.
    8. Stern, Jon, 2014. "The British utility regulation model: Its recent history and future prospects," Utilities Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 162-172.
    9. George Briden & Jonathan Lesser, 2017. "Regulatory arbitrage and the FERC rate settlement process," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 51(2), pages 184-196, April.
    10. Littlechild, Stephen C., 2012. "German airport regulation: Framework agreements, civil law and the EU Directive," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 63-75.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regulation; negotiated settlement;

    JEL classification:

    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • L95 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Gas Utilities; Pipelines; Water Utilities

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