18 CFR § 225.2 - General instructions.

§ 225.2 General instructions.

(a) Scope of this part.

(1) The regulations in this part must apply to all books of account and other records prepared by or on behalf of the natural gas company. See item 40 of the schedule for those records that come into possession of the natural gas company in connection with the acquisition of property, such as purchases, consolidation, merger, etc.

(2) The regulations in this part should not be construed as excusing compliance with other lawful requirements of any other governmental body, Federal or State, prescribing other record keeping requirements, or for preservation of records for periods longer than those prescribed in this part.

(3) To the extent that any Commission regulations may provide for a different retention period, the records should be retained for the longer of the retention periods.

(4) Records other than those listed in the schedule may be destroyed at the option of the natural gas company: Provided, however, That records which are used in lieu of those listed shall be preserved for the periods prescribed for the records used for substantially similar purposes. And, provided further, That retention of records pertaining to added services, functions, plant, etc., the establishment of which cannot be presently foreseen, shall conform to the principles embodied herein.

(5) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Records Retention Schedule, the Commission may, upon the request of the company, authorize a shorter period of retention for any record listed therein upon a showing by the company that preservation of such record for a longer period is not necessary or appropriate in the public interest or for the protection of investors or consumers.

(b) Designation of supervisory official. Each natural gas company subject to the regulations in this part shall designate one or more persons with official responsibility to supervise the natural gas company's program for preservation and the authorized destruction of its records.

(c) Protection and storage of records. The natural gas company shall provide reasonable protection for records subject to the regulations in this part from damage by fires, floods, and other hazards and, in the selection of storage spaces, safeguard the records from unnecessary exposure to deterioration from excessive humidity, dryness, or lack of proper ventilation.

(d) Record storage media. Each natural gas company has the flexibility to select its own storage media subject to the following conditions.

(1) The storage media must have a life expectancy at least equal to the applicable record retention period provided in § 225.3 unless there is a quality transfer from one media to another with no loss of data.

(2) Each natural gas company is required to implement internal control procedures that assure the reliability of and ready access to data stored on machine readable media. Internal control procedures must be documented by a responsible supervisory official.

(3) Each transfer of data from one media to another must be verified for accuracy and documented. Software and hardware required to produce readable records must be retained for the same period the media format is used.

(e) Destruction of records. At the expiration of the records retention period, natural gas companies may use any appropriate method to destroy records.

(f) Premature destruction or loss of records. When records are destroyed or lost before the expiration of the prescribed period of retention, a certified statement listing, as far as may be determined, the records destroyed and describing the circumstances of accidental or other premature destruction or loss must be filed with the Commission within ninety (90) days from the date of discovery of the destruction.

(g) Schedule of records and periods of retention.

(1) Records related to plant in service must be retained until the facilities are permanently removed from service, all removal and restoration activities are completed, and all costs are retired from the accounting records unless accounting adjustments resulting from reclassification and original costs studies have been approved by the regulatory commission having jurisdiction. If the plant is sold, the associated records or copies thereof, must be transferred to the new owners.

(2) Records related to additions, retirements, and betterments thereto must be retained until the Commission has determined the actual legitimate original cost of the facilities.

(h) Retention periods designated “Destroy at option”. “Destroy at option” constitutes authorization for destruction of records at managements' discretion if it does not conflict with other legal retention requirements or usefulness of such records in satisfying pending regulatory actions or directives.

(i) Records of services performed by associated companies. The natural gas companies must assure the availability of records of services performed by associated or affiliated companies with supporting cost information for the periods indicated in § 225.3 as necessary to be able to readily furnish detailed information as to the nature of the transaction, the amounts involved, and the accounts used to record the transactions.

(j) Index of records. Natural gas companies must arrange, file, and index records so they may be readily identified and made available to Commission representatives.

(k) Rate case. Notwithstanding the minimum retention periods provided in these regulations, if a natural gas company intends to reflect costs in a current, pending, or future rate case, or if a natural gas company has abandoned or retired a plant subsequent to the test period of its last rate case, it must retain all relevant records.

(l) Pending complaint litigation or governmental proceeding. Notwithstanding the minimum requirements, if a natural gas company is involved in pending litigation, complaint procedures, proceedings remanded by the court, or governmental proceedings, it must retain all relevant records.

(m) Life or mortality study data. Life or mortality study data for depreciation purposes must be retained for 25 years or for 10 years after plant is retired whichever is longer.

[Order 450, 37 FR 6304, Mar. 28, 1972, as amended by Order 258, 47 FR 42724, 42725, Sept. 29, 1982; Order 335, 48 FR 44483, Sept. 29, 1983; Order 617, 65 FR 48160, Aug. 7, 2000]