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Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 1995

Power Marketers: Let's Make a Deal

By W. Lynn Garner

SIDE SUBHEAD

Everyone talks about them.

EPA Approves Alternative-Fueled Vehicle Program

Lori A. Burkhart

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a plan by 12 northeastern states and the District of Columbia (the Ozone Transport Commission (OTC)) to improve air quality under the Clean Air Act. The plan allows the OTC to establish an alternative-fuel vehicle program fashioned after California's, beginning in model year 1999, or to choose other measures that would provide equivalent pollution reductions. The OTC plan envisions the sale of certain advanced technology vehicles that reduce pollution by more than 70 percent.

Entering the Appliance Repair BusinessGordon Canning

Gordon Canning

Nearly 40 utilities now offer an appliance services program. Most take a similar approach: They cover appliances such as gas and water heaters, offer repair service only (no preventive maintenance), and charge a modest price ($50 to $60 per year). Bill inserts often carry the load for service promotion.

FERC Allows "Retroactive" Rates

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved a settlement permitting potential refunds or surcharges by New England Power Co. (NEP) and Northeast Utilities Service Co. (NU) on deferred rate issues relating to transmission services provided on facilities collectively known as the "New Hampshire corridor" (Docket Nos. ER92-764-000 and ER92-766-000).

When NU merged with Public Service Co. of New Hampshire (PSNH), the FERC authorized PSNH to dispose of its jurisdictional facilities.

Forecasting New Gas Users

Alexander Lonshteyn

(SIDE SUBHEAD)

Each year hundreds of oil or electric customers call Boston Gas to ask about fuel-switching. What do they look for?A gas utility can boost sales only one way-by gaining new customers. And in today's slowly growing economy, conservation trends limit growth opportunities. The average household today uses two-thirds the energy of 15 years ago.

Financial News

Charles M. Studness

SIDE SUBHEAD

With no need for new capital, utilities have lost political pressure, exposing the regulatory compact as an illusion.Recovery of stranded investment today marks the central issue in the debate over electric utility competition. Unfortunately, the utility argument in favor of recovery is flawed.

Cost of Service Ignores Load Factor

Jim Lundrigan

In his recent article, "Cost-of-Service Studies: Do They Really Tell Us Who's Subsidizing Who?" (Nov. 15, 1994), Mark Quinlan proposes an alternative cost-of-service methodology. He claims that under current cost-allocation methods (and given adequate capacity to meet demand) a rate class with increasing sales subsidizes a rate class with decreasing sales.

International Opportunities

B. Victoria Brennan

Noting the growing global demand for new sources of energy, Congress tailored the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) to make U.S. public utility holding companies more competitive abroad. First, it eased the Securities and Exchange Commission review of U.S. investment in foreign energy facilities. Second, it sought to expand U.S. participation in foreign energy-related projects to include U.S. technology as well as investment dollars.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

In the energy industry, no question defies resolution more than electromagnetic fields (EMF).

The Edison Electric Institute (EEI) reported in late December that electric utilities have contributed close to $80 million for EMF research since the early 1970s. And new efforts are taking shape.

Defending Against EMF Property Devaluation Cases

George Brandon

Late last year, New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals, ruled that the owner of property adjacent to a utility's high-power electrical transmission lines could seek damages for a decrease in the market value of the property caused by the fear that the power lines might cause cancer, even if such a fear was not medically or scientifically reasonable.

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