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Fortnightly Magazine - January 15 1995

PG&E, Destec Enter Transmission Agreement

Lori A. Burkhart

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) and Destec Energy Inc. have entered into the nation's first comprehensive transmission and services agreement between a utility and a power marketer. The deal will allow Destec's power marketing subsidiary, Destec Power Services Inc. (DPS), to pool electricity and wholesale it directly using PG&E's transmission lines. A request for plan approval was filed at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on December 6.

FERC Denies Market Rates for Kentucky

W. Lynn Garner

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has denied a request by Kentucky Utilities Co. (KU) to charge market-based rates for bulk-power sales. In a related action, the FERC called for a public hearing on KU's accompanying transmission tariff, which would establish point-to-point rather than network service.

California to Reconsider PBOP Rulings

By Phillip S. Cross

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has reaffirmed an earlier ruling permitting telecommunications utilities subject to price-cap regulation to use accrual accounting for post-retirement benefits other than pensions (PBOPs) under SFAS 106. It also warned that it may change its existing policy, which allows recovery of the costs of the accounting change as an exogenous cost under the price-cap form of regulation. The CPUC explained that "strong arguments can be made" that PBOP costs are within the utilities' control and simply normal costs of doing business.

PSE&G Customers Can Shop Around for Gas

W. Lynn Garner

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has approved a plan that will allow Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) to offer new transportation services to its commercial and industrial (C/I) natural gas customers. As a result of the BPU action, PSE&G will begin offering third-party gas transportation and other services to C/I customers regardless of size, amount of gas used, or alternate fuel capabilities. These customers may purchase gas directly from producers and marketers and arrange for PSE&G to transport and deliver the gas.

Perspective

Leah Manning Stetzner

I am under siege. To be more precise, my company and American corporations in general are under siege. In popular media today, corporations are consistently treated as suspect at best (em and demonized at worst. If you switch off your critical faculties when you watch television or go to the movies, you're probably convinced that corporate America is out to destroy this country. In 1964, while campaigning for Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan framed the issue perfectly.

Indiana Authorizes Order 636 Transition Cost Recovery

By Phillip S. Cross

The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (URC) has authorized Northern Indiana Public Service Co. to recover its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Order 636 pipeline transition charges under a rate design proposal that divides the charges between sales and transportation customers. Under the approved recovery plan, the gas local distribution company (LDC) will pass to all ratepayers on a volumetric basis those transition charges related to gas supply realignment and stranded investment.

World's Largest Geothermal is Formed

Lori A. Burkhart

After much contention, California Energy Co. Inc. and Magma Power Co., both geothermal energy producers, have signed a merger agreement that will give Magma

stockholders $39 a share, or about $950 million in aggregate value. The agreement has been approved by both boards of directors. California Energy's tender offer included shares representing a majority of the voting power of Magma as well as funding of financing. The merger is also conditioned on the approval of California Energy's shareholders.

Marketing & Competing

James R. Pierobon

It was far from common just two years ago to identify an electric utility with a senior executive responsible for proactive marketing activities. Today, such people are relatively easy to find. Often they report directly to the CEO.

The waves of utility downsizings and corporate reorganizations have brought the realization that electricity will need to be sold, serviced, and strategically marketed to customers large and small.

Connecticut Ties Telecom Reform to Info Highway

By Phillip S. Cross

The Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) has issued the first in a series of policy statements designed to guide reform of telecommunications regulation under a new state law calling for the promotion of an "information superhighway" in the state by adding more competition in the marketplace.

Citizens Utilities Expands in Telecom

W. Lynn Garner

Citizens Utilities Co. is continuing its aggressive expansion into the telecommunications business with an agreement to buy $292 million of telephone and cable television assets from Alltel Corp. However, the deal places the company's credit rating under increasing pressure.

Citizens will buy 109,000 telephone access lines in eight states, and acquire operations serving 7,000 cable television customers in four states. Alltel is a telecommunications and information services company based in Little Rock, AK.

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