44 FR 15646, Mar. 15, 1979, unless otherwise noted.
The purpose of this part is to implement the authority granted to the Secretary of Energy in section 401 of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978, Public Law 95-621, 92 Stat. 3394-3395 (1978).
(a) Terms defined in section 2 of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 shall have the same meaning, as applicable, for purposes of this part, unless further defined in paragraph (b) of this section.
(b) The following definitions are applicable to this part:
(1) Commercial establishment means any establishment, (including institutions and local, state and federal government agencies) engaged primarily in the sale of goods or services, where natural gas is used for purposes other than those involving manufacturing or electric power generation.
(2) Essential agricultural use means any use of natural gas:
(i) For agricultural production, natural fiber production, natural fiber processing, food processing, food quality maintenance, irrigation pumping, crop drying; or
(ii) As a process fuel or feedstock in the production of fertilizer, agricultural chemicals, animal feed, or food which the Secretary of Agriculture determines is necessary for full food and fiber production.
(3) Essential agricultural user means any person who uses natural gas for an essential agricultural use as defined in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.
(4) Hospital means a facility whose primary function is delivering medical care to patients who remain at the facility, including nursing and convalescent homes. Outpatient clinics or doctors' offices are not included in this definition.
(5) High-priority use means any use of natural gas by a high-priority user as defined in paragraph (a)(6) of this section.
(6) High-priority user means, in no specific order, any person who uses natural gas:
(i) In a residence, or
(ii) In a commercial establishment in amounts of less than 50 Mcf on a peak day; or
(iii) In any school or hospital; or
(iv) For minimum plant protection when operations are shut down, for police protection, for fire protection, in a sanitation facility, in a correctional facility, or for emergency situations pursuant to 18 CFR 2.78(a)(4).
(7) Interstate pipeline means any person engaged in natural gas transportation subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under the Natural Gas Act.
(8) Residence means a dwelling using natural gas predominately for residential purposes such as space heating, air conditioning, hot water heating, cooking, clothes drying, and other residential uses, and includes apartment buildings and other multi-unit residential buildings.
(9) School means a facility, the primary function of which is to deliver instruction to regularly enrolled students in attendance at such facility. Facilities used for both educational and non-educational activities are not included under this definition unless the latter are merely incidental to the delivery of instruction.
(a) Notwithstanding any provision of law other than section 401(b) of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978, or any other rule, regulation, or order of the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or their predecessor agencies, and to the maximum extent practicable, no curtailment plan of an interstate pipeline may provide for curtailment of deliveries of natural gas for any essential agricultural use, unless:
(1) Such curtailment does not reduce the quantity of natural gas delivered for such use below the use requirement certified by the Secretary of Agriculture under section 401(c) of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 in order to meet the requirements of full food and fiber production; or
(2) Such curtailment is necessary in order to meet the requirements of high-priority users; or
(3) The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, determines, by rule or order issued pursuant to section 401(b) of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978, that use of a fuel (other than natural gas) is economically practicable and that the fuel is reasonably available as an alternative for such essential agricultural use.
(b) Any essential agricultural user who also qualifies as a high-priority user shall be a high-priority user for purposes of paragraph (a) of this section.
(c) The specific relative order of priority for all uses and users of natural gas, including high-priority and essential agricultural uses and users, shall remain as reflected in effective curtailment plans of interstate pipelines filed with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to the extent that the relative order of priorities does not conflict with paragraph (a) of this section.
(d) Nothing in this rule shall prohibit the injection of natural gas into storage by interstate pipelines or deliveries to its customers for their injection into storage unless it is demonstrated to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission that these injections or deliveries are not reasonably necessary to meet the requirements of high-priority users or essential agricultural uses.