Federal regulators voted to allow market-based rates for interstate gas storage facilities June 15. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's new rates aim to help increase the amount of gas in storage to dampen price volatility and meet demand for peak electricity from gas-fired power plants. While there's a surfeit of gas in storage at the moment in existing facilities, federal regulators want more facilities able to take on additional storage. Commissioner Suedeen Kelly said she agreed with Southern California Edison that the new rates would not only improve peaking power reliability but also add to a better balance in the pipeline system and assist pricing arbitrage. The new rates allow for more kinds of gas storage. Those include pipeline capacity, local production, and liquefied natural gas terminals. In other gas-related business, the commission voted to allow interchangeability on gas quality on a case-by-case basis. "Rather than issue a one-size-fits-all rule that could keep some gas out of the market, this is a pipeline-by-pipeline basis," noted Kelly. "It's more work for us" but allows for more gas in pipelines, she added. Cooperation between pipeline owners helped bring the decision to fruition, said chair Joe Kelliher. Over the past year, he said, the industry developed some consistency in its own differing standards for gas quality. End users are concerned that differing gas compositions can damage their equipment (Circuit, Feb. 3, 2006). The commission also proposed expanding blanket authority for some gas projects. It would raise the automatic project authorization amount from $8.2 million to $9.6 million. It would include storage and pipelines that receive liquefied natural gas. It would also allow companies to charge different rates for the same service.