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Fortnightly Magazine - January 15 1995

DSM Programs Must Target Consumers, Not Just Technology

Renz Jennings, Martin Pasqualetti, Merrilee Harrigan, and Robert Boscamp

One of the great attractions of demand-side management (DSM) lies in its ability to accommodate one-stop shopping. In contrast to the traditional supply-side approach, DSM allows energy utilities to minimize price hikes and maintain environmental quality even while meeting increasing needs.

Nevertheless, some of the initial excitement has waned. For example, The Wall Street Journal reviewed 11 programs in late 1993 and found that 8 realized less than half their projected savings.

PG&E May Move Natural Gas Pipes to FERC

Lori A. Burkhart

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) is moving forward with a proposal to transfer jurisdiction over its mainline natural gas transmission facilities and storage system from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

The natural gas pipelines at issue cross into the southwestern United States as well as Canada.

Ontario Approves Gas DSM Plan

Phillip S. Cross

The Ontario Energy Board has approved a $6.28-million demand-side management (DSM) plan for Consumers' Gas Co. Ltd., a natural gas distributor. The plan, reviewed as part of a major rate proceeding, won the Board's first approval since it issued integrated resource planning guidelines for gas distributors in 1993. While noting that initial period rate impacts associated with the company's DSM program were not significant, the Board stressed that rate impact testing was an important component of the DSM screening process.

Moving Off the Mainframe

Melvin E. Schick

No matter how you cut it, the Customer Information System (CIS) represents a utility's largest computer asset. It eats up the most disk space. It contains the most programs and lines of code. It handles the largest volume of business, whether measured in transactions or dollars.

Billing lies at the core of the CIS. It's the most complex area. But once bills go out to customers, the CIS must manage accounts receivable and the collection process, not to mention financial control and reporting.

Davis Proposes Transportation Bill

Lori A. Burkhart

At the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' quarterly meeting in Reno, NV, Edward M. Davis, president of NAC Holding Inc. and former president of the American Nuclear Energy Council, praised regulators for recognizing the need for a centralized interim storage facility for spent nuclear fuel by 1998 as well as the need for development of a transportation infrastructure.

California Modernizes DSM Shareholders Incentives

Phillip S. Cross

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has modified its policies on incentive mechanisms for utility demand-side management (DSM) efforts, while adopting new shareholder incentives for Pacific Gas & Electric Co., San Diego Gas & Electric Co., Southern California Edison Co., and Southern California Gas Co.

Utilities Bullish on Meter-Reading Technology

W. Lynn Garner

By the end of 1996, the 400,000 urban customers of Kansas City Power & Light Co. (KCPL) will enter a new age of technology.

A real-time wireless network will bounce readings from small transmitters installed in the existing meters of every home and business in the greater Kansas City metropolitan area back to computers at the utility's customer services office.

DOE Delays Hearing on Externality Cost-Efficiency

Lori A. Burkhart

The Department of Energy (DOE) has delayed until January 19 a hearing on its proposal to weigh external environmental costs when setting efficiency requirements for electric appliances, air conditioners, and other consumer goods. The hearing will consider selection and application of economic theory, the role of the regulatory process, scientific basis for proposed action, and economic impact of such a far-reaching shift on the economy. (em LB

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New York Settles on Renewable Resource Plan Incentives

By Phillip S. Cross

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued a settlement order on using renewable resources to meet the state's future electric needs. The order found that waste-to-energy facilities properly were included in the proceeding, and dismissed speculative rate-impact concerns raised by certain parties.

People

H.J. "Jim" Mellen, Jr. was named CEO of MDU Resources Group Inc. He will retain his current position as president. Mellen replaced John A. Schuchart, who will continue as chairman of the board.

Robert Anderson, Montana Public Service Commission member, was elected 104th president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Edward H. Salmon, member of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, was elected first v.p.

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