FERC seeks e-document comments

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In an effort to improve the efficiency of its electronic service, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission recently issued a notice of inquiry (NOI) seeking comments on a proposal to allow it to issue documents in electronic format.

The commission is also interested in the public's thoughts on a separate mechanism to "push" its documents (e-distribution) to individuals without the receiver having to intervene, according to the NOI issued Sept. 27.

Among other things, the NOI is seeking answers to the following questions:

* Would adopting issuances via e-mail be easier for recipients than receiving paper service?

* FERC's Web site contains documents in a number of formats, including ASCII, Word Perfect and TIFF; would other types, such as Portable Document Format, be preferable?

* Would e-distribution reduce the number of parties filing motions to intervene simply to remain aware of a proceeding's developments?

* Would it be beneficial for FERC to e-mail Internet links of other documents besides its issuances through e-distribution? FERC officials are considering running a pilot program for e-distribution before finalizing the e-service rules. They also are considering instituting a cost-recovering fee for the service and want to know how that would affect usage.

The inquiry is "limited in scope to the issue of electronic service of the commission's issuances and electronic service among parties...and is not intended to explore other aspects of [its] service regulations," according to the document.

All comments must be received by FERC, either on paper or electronically, by Nov. 2.

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