18 CFR 356.2 - General instructions.
(a) Scope of this part.
(1) The regulations in this part apply to all books of account and other records prepared by or on behalf of the oil pipeline companies.
(2) The regulations in this part must 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 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) Unless otherwise specified in the schedule in § 356.3, duplicate copies of records may be destroyed at any time. Provided, however, that such duplicate copies must not contain significant information not shown on the originals.
(5) Records other than those listed in the schedule may be destroyed at the option of the oil pipeline company. Provided, however, that records which are used in lieu of those listed must be preserved for the periods prescribed for the records used for substantially similar purposes and that retention of records pertaining to added services, functions, plant, etc., the establishment of which cannot be presently foreseen, must conform to the principles embodied herein.
(6) Notwithstanding the provision of the records retention schedule, the Commission may, upon request of the oil pipeline company, authorize shorter retention periods for any records listed in § 356.3. The oil pipeline companies must show that the longer retention periods are no longer necessary or appropriate to protect the public interest, investors, or consumers. A waiver from any provision of these regulations may be made by the Commission upon its own initiative or upon submission of a written request by the company. Each request for waiver must demonstrate that unusual circumstances warrant a departure from prescribed retention periods, procedures, or techniques, or that compliance with such prescribed requirements would impose an unreasonable burden on the company.
(b) Designation of supervisory official. Each oil pipeline company subject to the provision of this part must designate one or more persons to supervise the oil pipeline company's program for preservation and authorized destruction of records.
(c) Protection and storage of records. Each oil pipeline company subject to these regulations must provide reasonable protection for records. The records must have protections from fire, floods, and other hazards. Storage spaces, will also prevent unnecessary exposure to deterioration from excessive humidity, dryness, or lack of proper ventilation.
(d) Record storage media.
(1) Each oil pipeline company has the flexibility to select its own storage media.
(2) The storage media must have a life expectancy at least equal to the applicable record retention period provided in § 356.3 unless there is a quality transfer from one media to another with no loss of data.
(3) Each oil pipeline 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.
(e) Destruction of records. Oil pipeline companies may use any appropriate method to destroy permitted 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 such destruction.
(g) 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 action or directives.
(h) Records of services performed by associated companies. Oil pipeline companies must assure the availability of records of services performed by associated companies for the periods indicated in § 356.3 as necessary to be able to readily furnish detailed information as to the nature of transaction, the involved, and the accounts used to record the transactions.
(i) Index of records. Oil pipeline companies must arrange, file, and index records so they may be readily identified and made available to Commission representatives.
(j) Rate case. The schedule of records in § 356.3 shows the periods of time that designated records must be preserved. However, not withstanding the minimum retention periods provided in this regulation, if an oil pipeline company intends to reflect costs in a current, pending, or future rate case, or if an oil pipeline company has abandoned or retired plant subsequent to the test period of its last rate case, it must retain the appropriate records to support the costs, and adjustments proposed in the next or current rate case.
(k) Pending complaint litigation or governmental proceeding. Notwithstanding the minimum requirements, if an oil pipeline company is involved in pending litigation, complaint proceedings, proceedings remanded by the court, or governmental proceedings, it must retain all relevant records.
(l) Companies going out of business. The records referred to in these regulations may be destroyed after business is discontinued and the company is completely liquidated. The records may not be destroyed until dissolution is final and all transactions are completed. When a company is merged with another company under jurisdiction of the Commission, the successor company must preserve records of the merged company in accordance with these regulations.
(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.