The National Propane Gas Association announced Monday, February 27, 2012 that it and a coalition of over 58 companies and trade associations protested an unjust and unreasonable tariff increase on the Enterprise TEPPCO pipeline, which runs from near Houston, Texas, to Upstate New York. The protest was filed on time despite a mere 15 day window available to protesters under Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulations. Also joining the protest were two refined fuels providers.
“The protest filed today by 58 propane shippers, marketers, and state associations demonstrates the high levels of concern the industry has about these rate increases,” said Tom Van Buren, Vice President of Ferrell North America and Chairman of NPGA’s Pipeline Advocacy Task Force. “Never before have we seen such an emphatic and concerted response to a FERC proceeding. The industry believes the abnormally large rate increases - many of which are 70% to more than 100% -- will have a devastating effect on the competitiveness of propane as an alternative fuel in the eastern United States.”
According to Philip Squair, NPGA’s Senior Vice President for Public and Governmental Affairs, “This enormous increase is particularly disturbing since it comes in the middle of the propane industry’s peak heating season and without sufficient notice to customers and other affected third parties.” He added, “No acknowledgement has been given to the impact these tariff increases will have on the existing commercial relationships between suppliers and marketers as well as the corresponding negative impact on the consuming public.”
The protesters strongly believe that FERC should reject outright Enterprise TEPPCO’s proposed rate increases. Rick Roldan, NPGA’s President and CEO, stated “The propane industry has drawn a line in the sand today for one simple reason: unless the propane industry takes action, FERC will not do so on its own.”
FERC’s policy of “light-handed enforcement” as applied to the oil pipeline industry has effectively left it up to shippers to protect the consuming public by challenging the enormous rate increases proposed by Enterprise TEPPCO. The propane industry hopes that FERC will be actively engaged in the proceeding, if the Commission does not outright reject the proposed rate increases. The public interest must be the controlling factor in disputes between the pipeline and its customers, since oil pipelines are natural monopolies.
Delivering Value Through Advocacy.