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Pennsylvania Code



Subchapter E. STANDARDS OF CONDUCT


Sec.


62.141.    Definitions.
62.142.    Standards of Conduct.

Authority

   The provisions of this Subchapter E issued under the Public Utility Code, 66 Pa.C.S. § §  501, 502, 504—506, 508, 701, 1501, 1502, 2102—2107 and 2201—2212, unless otherwise noted.

Source

   The provisions of this Subchapter E adopted April 14, 2006, effective April 15, 2006, 36 Pa.B. 1748, unless otherwise noted.

§ 62.141. Definitions.

 The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

   Affiliated NGS

     (i)   An NGS engaging in marketing activities related to natural gas supply services by the marketing division or marketing operation of an NGDC.

     (ii)   The term does not include a utility’s marketing department or division to the extent that it informs existing or prospective customers of the availability and price of the regulated sales service that utility furnishes in its role as supplier of last resort.

   Commission—The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission.

   Favored customer—Any customer of an NGDC or its affiliated NGS which receives a benefit of economic value to retain that customer on the distribution system.

   NGDC—Natural gas distribution company—A public utility or city natural gas distribution operation that provides natural gas distribution services and which may provide natural gas supply services and other services. For purposes of this standard of conduct, the term does not include:

     (i)   A public utility subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission which has annual gas operating revenues of less than $6 million per year, except:

       (A)   When the public utility voluntarily petitions the Commission to be included within the definition of NGDC.

       (B)   When the public utility seeks to provide natural gas supply services to retail gas customers outside its service territory.

     (ii)   A natural gas public utility subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission that is not interconnected to an interstate gas pipeline by means of a direct or indirect connection through the distribution system of another natural gas public utility or through a natural gas gathering system.

   NGS—Natural gas supplier

     (i)   An entity other than an NGDC, but including NGDC marketing affiliates without regard to structural relationship, which provides natural gas supply services to retail gas customers utilizing the jurisdictional facilities of an NGDC. The term includes:

       (A)   An NGDC that provides natural gas supply services outside its certificated service territories.

       (B)   A municipal corporation, its affiliates or any joint venture, to the extent that it chooses to provide natural gas supply services to retail customers located outside of its corporate or municipal limits, as applicable, other than:

         (I)   As provided prior to July 1, 1999, the effective date of 66 Pa.C.S. Chapter 22 (relating to natural gas competition), under a certificate of public convenience if required under this title.

         (II)   Total natural gas supply services in de minims amounts.

         (III)   Natural gas supply services requested by, or provided with the consent of, the public utility in whose certificated territory the services are provided.

         (IV)   Natural gas supply services provided to the municipal corporation itself or its tenants on land it owns or leases, or is subject to an agreement of sale or pending condemnation, as of September 1, 1999, to the extent permitted by applicable law independent of 66 Pa.C.S. Chapter 22.

     (ii)   The term excludes an entity to the extent that it provides free gas to end-users under the terms of an oil or gas lease. Notwithstanding any other provision of 66 Pa.C.S. (relating to the Public Utility Code), an NGS that is not an NGDC is not a public utility as defined in 66 Pa.C.S. §  102 (relating to definitions) to the extent that the NGS is utilizing the jurisdictional distribution facilities of an NGDC or is providing other services authorized by the Commission.

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  62.224 (relating to POR programs).

§ 62.142. Standards of conduct.

 (a)  General requirements. NGDCs and NGSs shall comply with the following requirements:

   (1)  An NGDC shall apply its tariffs in a nondiscriminatory manner to its affiliated NGS and a nonaffiliated NGS.

   (2)  An NGDC may not apply a tariff provision in a manner that would give its affiliated NGS preference over other NGSs with regard to matters such as scheduling, balancing, transportation, storage, curtailment, capacity release and assignment, nondelivery and other services provided to its affiliated NGS.

   (3)  Mandatory tariff provisions may not be waived by an NGDC for an NGS absent prior approval of the Commission.

   (4)  When a tariff provision is not mandatory or provides for waivers, an NGDC shall grant the waivers without preference to its affiliated NGS or nonaffiliated NGS.

   (5)  An NGDC shall maintain a chronological log of tariff provisions for which it has granted waivers. Entries must include the name of the party receiving the waiver, the date and time of the request, the specific tariff provision waived and the reason for the waiver. The chronological log must be open for public inspection during normal business hours. When the NGDC maintains a website, it shall post the terms set forth in this paragraph on its website for at least 3 months.

   (6)  An NGDC shall process requests for distribution services promptly and in a nondiscriminatory fashion with respect to other requests received in the same or a similar period. An NGDC shall maintain a chronological log showing the processing of requests for transportation services. The chronological log must be open for public inspection during normal business hours.

   (7)  If an NGDC provides a distribution service discount, fee waiver or rebate to its favored customers, or to the favored customers of its affiliated NGS, the NGDC shall offer the same distribution service discount, fee waiver or rebate to other similarly situated customers. Offers may not be tied to an unrelated service, incentive or offer on behalf of either the NGDC or its affiliated NGS. A chronological log shall be maintained showing the date, party, time and rationale for the action. The chronological log must be open for public inspection during normal business hours.

   (8)  Subject to customer privacy or confidentiality constraints, an NGDC may not disclose, directly or indirectly, any customer proprietary information to its affiliated NGS unless authorized by the customer. To the extent that an NGDC does disclose customer information without customer authorization, it shall first seek the permission of the customer consistent with its tariffs, any contractual obligations it may have to the customer or §  62.78 (relating to privacy of customer information) and, if that customer grants permission, contemporaneously provide this same information to other similarly situated NGSs in a similar fashion so as not to selectively disclose, delay disclosure or give itself or its affiliated NGS an advantage related to the disclosure. A chronological log shall be maintained showing the date, party, time and rationale for the disclosure. The chronological log must be open for public inspection during normal business hours. This paragraph does not apply to the disclosure of customer information made under a customer assistance program mandated by State law or regulation.

   (9)  An NGDC shall reasonably allocate to its affiliated NGS the costs or expenses for general administration or support services provided to its affiliated NGS.

   (10)  NGDCs may not condition or tie the provision of a product, service or price agreement by the NGDC, including release of interstate pipeline capacity, to the provision of a product or service by its affiliated NGS.

   (11)  An NGDC may not give its affiliated NGS preference over a nonaffiliated NGS in the provision of goods and services including processing requests for information, complaints and responses to service interruptions. An NGDC shall provide comparable treatment in its provision of goods and services without regard to a customer’s chosen NGS.

   (12)  An NGDC and its affiliated NGS shall maintain separate books and records. Transactions between the NGDC and its affiliated NGS may not involve cross-subsidies. Shared facilities must be fully and transparently allocated between the NGDC function and the affiliated NGS function. The NGDC accounts and records shall be maintained so that the costs incurred on behalf of an affiliated NGS are clearly identified.

   (13)  NGDC employees who have responsibility for operating the distribution system, including natural gas delivery or billing and metering, as well as those responsible for marketing and customer service, may not be shared with an affiliated NGS, and their offices shall be physically separated from the offices used by those working for the affiliated NGS. NGDC employees may transfer to an affiliated NGS provided the transfer is not used as a means to circumvent these standards of conduct.

   (14)  Neither the NGDC nor its affiliated NGS may directly, or by implication, falsely and unfairly represent to a customer, NGS or third party that an advantage may accrue to a party through use of the NGDC’s affiliates or subsidiary, such as:

     (i)   The Commission-regulated services provided by the NGDC are of a superior quality when services are purchased from its affiliated NGS.

     (ii)   The merchant services for natural gas are being provided by the NGDC when they are in fact being provided by an affiliated NGS.

     (iii)   The natural gas purchased from a nonaffiliated NGS may not be reliably delivered.

     (iv)   Natural gas shall be purchased from an affiliated NGS to receive Commission-regulated services.

   (15)  When an affiliated NGS markets or communicates to the public using the NGDC name or logo, it shall include a legible disclaimer that states that:

     (i)   The affiliated NGS is not the same company as the NGDC.

     (ii)   The prices of the affiliated NGS are not regulated by the Commission.

     (iii)   A customer does not have to buy natural gas or other products from the affiliated NGS to receive the same quality of service from the NGDC.

   (16)  When an affiliated NGS advertises or communicates verbally through radio or television to the public using the NGDC name or logo, the affiliated NGS shall include at the conclusion of the communication a legible disclaimer that includes all of the disclaimers in paragraph (15)(i)—(iii).

   (17)  An NGDC may not:

     (i)   Jointly market or jointly package its Commission-regulated services with the services of an affiliated NGS.

     (ii)   Offer or provide to its affiliated NGS products or services, including bill inserts in its NGDC bills promoting an affiliated NGS’s services or a link from the NGDC’s website, unless the NGDC offers or provides these products or services to nonaffiliated NGSs on the same terms and conditions.

     (iii)   The restrictions in subparagraphs (i) and (ii) do not apply to competitive bid situations.

   (18)  An NGDC may not offer or sell natural gas commodity or capacity to its affiliated NGS without simultaneously posting the offering electronically on a source generally available to the market or by otherwise making a sufficient offer to the market. The NGDC shall maintain a chronological log of these public disseminations. The chronological log must be open for public inspection during normal business hours.

   (19)  An NGDC shall establish and file with the Commission complaint procedures for dealing with alleged violations of the standards of conduct, with the exception of paragraph (9), which is exclusively under the purview of the Commission. These procedures shall be developed in consultation with interested parties during consideration of tariffs guided by this section and §  69.191 (relating to general). The Commission may grant an exception to these requirements if warranted by the facts or circumstances.

   (20)  An NGDC shall keep a chronological log of any complaints filed, excepting those filed to paragraph (9), regarding discriminatory treatment of NGSs. This chronological log must include the date and nature of the complaint and the resolution of the complaint. The chronological log must be open for inspection during normal business hours.

 (b)  Dispute resolution procedures. In addition to the procedures in subsection (a)(19):

   (1)  When a dispute between an NGDC, an affiliated NGS or a nonaffiliated NGS alleging a violation of the standards of conduct provisions occurs, the NGS shall provide the NGDC or affiliated NGS, as applicable, a written notice of dispute that includes the names of the parties and customers, if any, involved and a brief description of the matters in dispute.

   (2)  Within 5 days of an NGDC’s or affiliated NGS’s receipt of a notice of dispute, a designated senior representative of each party shall attempt to resolve the dispute on an informal basis.

   (3)  If the representatives are unable to resolve the dispute by mutual agreement within 30 days of receipt, they shall refer the complaint to the Commission’s Office of Administrative Law Judge for mediation under §  69.392 (relating to availability of mediation process). A party may request mediation prior to that time if informal resolution is not productive.

   (4)  A party may file a complaint concerning the dispute with the Commission under relevant provisions of 66 Pa.C.S. § §  701—703 (relating to procedure on complaints) and § §  5.21—5.31 (relating to formal complaints).

   (5)  A complainant bears the burden of proof consistent with 66 Pa.C.S. §  332 (relating to procedures in general) in regard to the allegations and may request penalties for violations under 66 Pa.C.S. §  3301 (relating to civil penalties for violations).

 (c)  Adoption as company policy. An NGDC and its affiliated NGS shall formally adopt and implement these provisions as company policy and take appropriate steps to train and instruct employees in their content and application.

Cross References

   This section cited in 52 Pa. Code §  62.224 (relating to POR programs); 52 Pa. Code §  111.8 (relating to agent identification; misrepresentation); and 52 Pa. Code §  111.14 (relating to notification regarding marketing or sales activity).



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