FERC looks to e-mail notices

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) officials want to replace most of the paper-based notices they issue with an e-mail process by next February to cut costs and speed up the time it takes for people to receive the issuances.

Notices will still be sent by regular mail but only if the recipient gets a specific waiver from the eService system, which will be the commission's default method for delivering notices. The system also will provide more accurate and up-to-date service lists that parties to commission proceedings can use to electronically serve one another, according to the FERC's Federal Register notification.

The commission began making a series of rules in 2000 in an effort to reduce the mountains of paper involved in its processes by moving toward online methods. Officials have allowed electronic filing of documents and forms for some time, for example, and in August 2002, they started requiring that users register electronically to use the online filing system.

As part of the eService program, the commission will require that everyone on a service list electronically register a current e-mail address. Anyone who tries to file a document electronically and isn't registered will be prompted to eRegister. People making that initial filing will become the official representatives on the service lists for the party on whose behalf they are filing.

Comments on the FERC's proposed eService rulemaking are due Aug. 2.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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