Potential Administrative Impact of Implementing Selected Provisions of the Administration's Natural Gas Decontrol Plan (S. 615)
RCED-83-146, Apr 25, 1983
In response to a congressional request, GAO examined the potential administrative impact of implementing selected provisions of the Natural Gas Consumer Regulatory Reform Amendments of 1983 on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the Economic Regulatory Administration (ERA). Specifically, GAO was asked to identify and analyze all provisions that would increase or decrease the regulatory activities at these agencies and estimate these activities' impacts on staff and resources.
GAO found that the repeal of the incremental pricing provisions of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 could reduce the FERC workload. However, the provisions in the bill permitting an increase in the number of applications filed could increase the workload. Further, pipelines could potentially be placed in an adversarial role when ordered to transport gas under one of these provisions, and FERC would have to make such determinations on a case-by-case basis. GAO noted that, although the bill does not specifically mention EIA, it contains numerous provisions that could require extensive data gathering, calculation and publication activities. Finally, GAO found that the only section of the proposed legislation that would impact the ERA workload concerns repeal of certain sections of the Powerplant and Industrial Fuel Use Act of 1978. Exemptions from the provisions in the act that prohibit the use of natural gas and petroleum as a primary source in new electric powerplants and related provisions could reduce ERA staff and publication costs.