Section 5 Reform Legislation, the MPACT Act, Introduced in Senate

By Joshua St.Pierre posted 04-19-2024 02:57 PM

On April 18, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) introduced the bipartisan “Making Pipelines Accountable to Consumers and Taxpayers Act” (MPACT Act). This bill will ensure a more fair and equitable process for public gas systems and others to engage in rate cases with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), ultimately keeping energy rates lower for Americans. According to a recent survey conducted by the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA), over a five-year period, 20 major interstate pipelines had a net over-recovery of $5.1 billion because they are charging these unjust and unfair rates. The MPACT Act will grant FERC the authority to issue refunds from interstate natural gas pipelines to customers under Section 5 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) when these unfair and unjust rates are charged. 
For decades, FERC has lacked the necessary authority to issue refunds to natural gas customers when interstate pipelines charge excessive rates, allowing these for-profit pipeline companies to keep billions of dollars that belong to Americans. The Federal Power Act (FPA), which regulates electric transmission entities, gives FERC the authority to issue refunds when unfair and unjust rates are charged. Natural gas customers deserve the same protections that electric customers already enjoy. 
Both Senator Blumenthal and Senator Hyde-Smith have committed to rectifying this inconsistency with the introduction of the MPACT Act. Similar, bipartisan bills have been introduced in both the House and the Senate in the past two sessions of Congress. Attention will now turn to educating other lawmakers on the need for reform, particularly for non-profit, public gas systems, that are dedicated to delivering energy at the most affordable rates possible.
APGA along with a dozen other businesses and trade associations sent a letter to both Senators thanking them for their efforts to introduce the bill and urging for its swift passage. Several of these industry groups representing energy-intensive trades will be working to grow the list of cosponsors of the MPACT Act, as well as introduce similar legislation in the House. 
As the list of champions in the Senate and House grows, and as the number of businesses and trade associations supporting the legislation increases, we will update APGA members on the bill’s progress and opportunities for engagement.
For questions on this article, please contact Joshua St.Pierre of APGA staff by phone at 202-407-0015 or by email at