December 17, 2004
RICHMOND, Va. — Dominion (NYSE: D) said today that it inadvertently submitted an outdated weekly report on Nov. 22 to the U.S. Energy Information Administration in a routine weekly update of Dominion’s underground natural gas storage levels.
Dominion submitted the correct report within 30 minutes of a request by EIA personnel to reaffirm its data submission. The EIA request came on Nov. 24, the day the agency released a broader weekly national summary of the nation’s total underground natural gas storage levels for the week ending Nov. 19.
Dominion is cooperating with inquiries by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
Dominion has added safeguards to the procedures for personnel responsible for submitting the company’s weekly storage reports to EIA.
Dominion submits the confidential report each Monday to EIA to disclose the level of natural gas in storage the preceding week.
Dominion’s investigation found that its natural gas storage personnel prepared an accurate report of Dominion’s storage levels for the week ending Nov. 19 for submission to EIA. Dominion, following its customary procedures, also accurately posted the prior-week storage levels of its affiliate Dominion Transmission, Inc. on its web site’s electronic bulletin board on Nov. 22.
However, the clerical worker responsible for submitting the storage report to EIA inadvertently submitted a duplicate of a Dominion weekly storage report that had been submitted previously to EIA on Sept. 27. That report indicated a report period for the week ending Sept. 24 and reflected storage levels of about 30 billion cubic feet less natural gas in the Dominion underground storage system than was actually in the company’s system for the week ending Nov. 19. The erroneous weekly report submitted to EIA was clearly dated.
EIA is responsible under existing federal policies for disclosing national storage data and revisions on a uniform and coordinated basis.
Among newly implemented procedural safeguards at Dominion, management-level personnel will execute transmission of the weekly storage data to EIA, and a separate senior-level manager will contact EIA personnel after the data are submitted to verify the report’s content. While the error occurred with the transmission of the data, Dominion is also strengthening its data verification procedures under a system of redundant review by management. The company confirmed that previous natural gas storage data submissions to the EIA have been accurately and properly compiled and submitted.
Dominion has determined that the company did not benefit from having information about the inadvertent submission of the September report.
In a related matter, Dominion also determined that an employee who handles storage data believed she was speaking accurately when she told Gas Daily on Nov. 29, in response to an inquiry, that the storage numbers submitted by Dominion were correct. At the time she made the statement, the employee did not know that the outdated storage report had been inadvertently submitted to EIA rather than the accurate Nov. 22 report. The employee was quoted by the publication several days later.