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Frequently Asked Questions: Trading Operating with Cumulative Imbalances

What is an Operating Imbalance?

Only Core Procurement Groups (CPGs) have Operating Imbalances. An Operating Imbalance represents the monthly difference between the sum of a CPG's daily Determined Usage (a same-day forecast provided by Pacific Gas and Electric Company) and the Group's metered usage for the same month. Because of the time required to obtain and process core meter readings, the Operating Imbalance is not available until two and one-half months after the end of a month.

When may I begin trading Operating Imbalances and Cumulative Imbalances?

Your first opportunity to trade Operating Imbalances with Cumulative Imbalances is during the May imbalance trading period, May 15, 2000 through May 28, 2000.

Operating and Cumulative Imbalances appearing on the same month's imbalance statement may be traded against each other during the next trading period.

For example, during the May imbalance trading period, April Cumulative Imbalances, from either core or noncore accounts, may be traded with February Operating Imbalances. Both these imbalances are provided in the May imbalance statements.

May I trade with other Parties?

Yes, you may directly trade your Operating Imbalance with another party's Cumulative or Operating Imbalance, as long as those trades are otherwise valid. You may also trade Operating Imbalances to firm storage, subject to the same limitations as trading Cumulative Imbalances to storage.

May I trade my entire Operating Imbalance?

Your Operating Imbalance statement will indicate the exact volume of your Operating Imbalance which may be traded. Any trades involving Operating Imbalances must move your Operating Imbalance Carryover Account towards zero. If your Operating Imbalance Carryover Account has a sign (+/-) different than the sign of your Operating Imbalance, your ability to trade Operating Imbalances will be limited.

What is the Operating Imbalance Carryover Account?

The OFO Settlement established the Operating Imbalance Carryover Account to help smooth out the repayment of Operating Imbalances and to minimize their impact on system imbalances. Each month, each CPG's untraded Operating Imbalances are moved to its Operating Imbalance Carryover Account. Also each month, one-twelfth (1/12) of this account balance is considered the first transaction for that CPG. Billing and supply adjustments will now be made to the Carryover Account. In this way, the impact of untraded Operating Imbalances and adjustments are spread out over 12 months. If this account has a balance of between -5000 and 5000 Dth, the CPG may elect to have the entire balance considered the first transaction rather than just 1/12.

How do I request that a Carryover Account balance be considered my first transaction in the following month?

If your Carryover Account balance is between -5000 Dth and 5000 Dth, you may chose to have the entire balance treated as first gas through the meter in the following month. To make this request, fax a signed page from your Operating Imbalance statement per the directions in the statement.

How is my tradable Operating Imbalance volume determined?

The amount of your Operating Imbalance available for trading is determined by the rule: Each Operating Imbalance trade must move the CPG's Operating Imbalance Carryover toward zero.

If your Operating Imbalance Carryover Account ("Carryover") and your Operating Imbalance are of the same sign (+/-) you may trade your entire Operating Imbalance that month. Such trades avoid moving your Carryover further away from zero.

However, if your Carryover and your Operating Imbalance have different signs, your ability to trade your Operating Imbalance will be limited. This is because your Operating Imbalance for the given month must first be applied towards moving your Carryover towards zero.

When your Carryover and Operating Imbalance have different signs, and the absolute value of your Carryover is greater than the absolute value of your Operating Imbalance, no trades are allowed from that month's Operating Imbalance because the entire Operating Imbalance is applied towards your Carryover.

If your Carryover and Operating Imbalance have different signs, and the absolute value of your Carryover is less than the absolute value of your Operating Imbalance, the Operating Imbalance is first used to move the Carryover Account to zero and then the remainder may be traded.

Which month do I enter in the Imbalance Trading Screen?

When you log into Imbalance Trading, the "imbalance month" field already contains the correct entry for any trades involving Cumulative Imbalances. Use this month even if you are trading between Operating Imbalances and Cumulative Imbalances. This is the month in which the Cumulative Imbalance was incurred.

But, if your trades involve only Operating Imbalances, you must enter the month in which the Operating Imbalances were incurred. Remember, Operating Imbalances are incurred two months prior to Cumulative Imbalances.

A similar rule applies if you are using the imbalance trading screen to review trades already submitted. To search for any trades involving Cumulative Imbalances, enter the imbalance month during which the Cumulative Imbalances were incurred. Use this month even if you are searching for trades between Cumulative and Operating Imbalances.

To search for or confirm any trades involving only Operating Imbalances, enter the month in which the Operating Imbalances were incurred. Again, Operating Imbalances are incurred two months prior to Cumulative Imbalances.

When checking the balance of any imbalance account, your entry in the imbalance month field will not impact the query. The current balance of the account will be retrieved regardless of the date entered in the imbalance month field.