Month: February 2012

FERC Uniqueness Requirement for Description, Title, and Version

When submitting a Tariff Record Version (TRV) to FERC in an eTariff Filing, the Description and Version fields are required (must have a non-blank value) and the Title field is optional (may have a blank value).  The combination of these three fields is commonly used by FERC in official correspondence to refer to a specific tariff record submission.  Therefore, in order for FERC to be able to rely on these fields as a point of reference, the combination of the three values must be unique within a Tariff Database (which FERC refers to as Tariff ID).

FERC’s software does not enforce the rule above (though it could be made to do so at some point in the future).  Instead, it is up to FERC analysts to detect these situations and enforce uniqueness of Description, Title, and Version.  To date, either by design or by accident, staff’s detection and enforcement of these situations has not been happening with any regularity.

To avoid such situation, TariffShark enforces this rule via a combination of two different validations.


During Filing validation, if any of a Filing’s TRVs is found to contain a Version value that matches one already filed under the same Tariff Record (TR), fail message R011 results:

Filed Tariff Record Version “” has been previously filed with this version number.


During Filing validation, if any of a Filing’s TRVs is found to contain a combination of Description and Title values that match the values under a different TR, warning message R044 results:

Generally, the combination of a Tariff Record Version’s Description and Title must uniquely identify the record being filed.  This Filing contains Tariff Record Version ““, which could be confused with ““.  Submitting the Filing as is might result in a FERC rejection or instructive order to update the Description or Title to better distinguish these records.

TariffShark’s validations are there to help you avoid rejected and erroneous Filing submissions.  For your reference, the v1.1 online documentation includes a complete list of Filing Validation Rules.

If you have any questions or comments relating TariffShark’s Filing validation rules, we’d love to hear from you.  Please comment below or contact Support.

View Your FERC eTariff XML

After validating your Filing in TariffShark and downloading the zipped XML file, have you ever wanted to look at the XML before you ship it off to FERC?  This blog article describes one method for doing so.

An eTariff filing’s data is coded in XML format.  XML is a plain text format, so it may be viewed using any number of file editors that can open and display plain text.  Because eTariff XML files can be VERY large, the XML file is compressed into a ZIP file.  The ZIP file is what actually gets submitted to FERC when making an eTariff filing.

1. Open ZIP File

Windows knows how to open a ZIP file, so special software is not needed.  Simply double-click the ZIP file downloaded from TariffShark and Windows will open it.  Looking at the open ZIP file is almost exactly like looking at the contents of a folder.  The difference is that folder contents are ready to be used and ZIP file contents must be extracted from (or copied out of) the ZIP file first.

2. Extract XML File

Extracting the XML file from the ZIP file is as easy as dragging it out of the ZIP window and dropping it on your Windows desktop.  This is how we typically do it.

3. Open XML File

There are many programs that can read and display XML files.  Some do a better job of it than others.  The biggest concern is that you use a program that is able to handle very large files because FERC eTariff XML files can be VERY large…sometimes many, many megabytes.

Our tool of choice is Notepad++, which is a free text file editor.  A standard Windows installer version is available for download from the developer’s website here.

Start Notepad++ and select “File | Open…” from the menu to open the XML file that you copied to your desktop in Step 2 above.

About the XML

The XML file contains tags and data.  The tags appear within angle brackets and the data appears between the tags.


In the example above, “” is a tag that indicates the beginning of the Record Id data and “” signals the end of the Record Id data.  Between the tags is the actual data, which is “1234” in the example.

There are a couple of tags in a typical eTariff XML file that you will not be able to read.  These tags contain binary data that can only be read and understood by a computer:

4. Delete XML File

When you’re done viewing the XML, find the XML file that you placed on your desktop in Step 2 above and delete it.

If you have questions about viewing eTariff XML or if you use a different procedure for opening and viewing it, we’d love to hear from you.  Please comment below or contact TariffShark Support.