The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) provides sets of rules that describe the types of eTariff filings and the supporting materials (FERC Attachments) that may be submitted for each type of filing. Separate sets of rules are provided for each FERC program (gas, oil, electric) which are aligned with the governing regulations. TariffShark incorporates and enforces these rules to help ensure a pain-free eTariff experience. For those interested, FERC provides a human-readable PDF that spells out the rules in some detail.
With that brief background out of the way, let’s dive into today’s topic: the waiving of FERC Attachments in eTariff.
Years ago, when eTariff was conceived, FERC staff set out to define the types of filings and associated attachments in a way that they closely mirrored the regulations. Specifically, for a given type of eTariff filing, the regulations describe which attachments are required and which are optional. FERC staff felt that defining the rules to parallel the regulations would help filers to understand the filing requirements and result in fewer rejected filings. Also, among the required attachments, a waiver may be requested under certain circumstances which would permit an eTariff filer to omit a required attachment. Another reason that a waiver might be requested for a specific attachment is when a filer chooses to include mandatory supporting material within another attachment, such as the transmittal letter. For example, when proposing changes to tariff language, it is necessary to provide a transmittal letter, the marked tariff changes, and a clean copy of the affected portions of the revised tariff. A filer could choose to provide three separate attachments or combine all three into the transmittal letter.
FERC staff’s intent caused something of an outcry from industry members. Some felt that it would be burdensome to provide a transmittal letter that included all required materials and to also request a waiver of those materials as separate attachments (on account of them being provided within the transmittal letter). In the end, FERC staff deferred to industries’ concerns.
So, while eTariff’s type of filing and attachment rules are capable of defining mandatory versus optional attachments and designating for which among the mandatory attachments a waiver may be requested, the rules have been implemented in a much simpler way. Across FERC programs, across all types of filings, transmittal letters are the only mandatory attachments and they are defined such that they cannot be waived. Therefore, while TariffShark supports the notion of requesting waivers for mandatory attachments, FERC’s type of filing and attachment rules do not define any such attachments, so you will not see this functionality within TariffShark. Further, this “dumbing down” of the rules places a greater burden on eTariff filers to be familiar with the regulations and to understand which attachments are required and which are optional for various eTariff filing scenarios.