Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Makes Progress Toward Expanding User Fee Program

RCED-83-2: Published: Feb 9, 1983. Publicly Released: Feb 9, 1983.

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GAO examined the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) efforts to develop a user fee system, which would include licensing and filing fees and annual charges collected from the oil, pipeline, electric, and natural gas companies which use FERC services.

FERC has taken actions to develop a strong user fee program. However, GAO believes that FERC could further strengthen the program by: (1) implementing procedures to periodically test the accuracy of its staff time reporting system; (2) developing written criteria as to which costs should be included or excluded in calculating the average cost for one employee, a key ingredient in the fee determination process; (3) preparing a user requirements analysis of its new accounting system; and (4) proceeding with the creation of one specific office to centralize management over all user fee program activities. In seeking to address these needs, FERC is installing an automated Time Distribution Reporting System to provide more accurate staff day information. Further, FERC is working to adopt an existing Department of Energy accounting system. Although these are significant steps, GAO believes that more can be done to strengthen the FERC user fee program.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, FERC, should direct that procedures be established for periodically testing the accuracy of the data generated by the Commission's Time Distribution Reporting System.

    Agency Affected: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, FERC, should direct that criteria be developed to specify and explain which costs are to be included and excluded in determining the average cost for an employee.

    Agency Affected: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, FERC, should direct that overall responsibility for managing and directing the operations of the user fee program be assigned to one office.

    Agency Affected: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Chairman, FERC, should direct that a user requirements analysis be prepared for the proposed accounting system, giving special consideration to the requirements for the user fee system and a possible future tie-in with the Time Distribution Reporting System.

    Agency Affected: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

 

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