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Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 1995

How State Regulators Should Handle Retail Wheeling

Kenneth W. Costello, Robert E. Burns, and Youssef Hegazy

By Kenneth W. Costello, Robert E. Burns, and Youssef HegazyThe electric power industry is next in line for dramatic change. Competition has edged into individual markets, particularly the bulk-power market. This move toward competition has provoked debate in several states over the merits of retail wheeling. Specifically, should retail customers have the right to purchase their power requirements from sources other than the local utility? Many states have addressed the issue in different forums, at different levels of intensity.

FERC to States: No QF Rates Higher than Avoided Cost

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has ruled that states may not set rates higher than a utility's avoided cost for power purchases from qualifying facilities (QFs) (Docket Nos. EL93-55-000 and

EL87-53-003). The new rule comes as part of a case in which Connecticut Light and Power Co.

How Stranded Will Electric Utiliites Be?

Eric Hirst and Lester Baxter

Stranded commitments (SC), because they are potentially huge, may be a show stopper for increased competition in the U.S. electricity industry. Utility shareholders, industrial customers, and small commercial and residential customers are likely to wage tough battles before state and federal regulatory commissions as they seek to reduce their exposure to these costs.

Telecommunications Reform Effort Renewed

Lori A. Burkhart

The seven regional Bell operating companies have formed a coalition (em the Alliance for Competitive Communications (em to spearhead their efforts to reform the nation's telecommunications laws. The group's central goal is to eliminate barriers to competition among local telephone, long-distance, and cable television companies by:

s Encouraging competition in all markets

s Protecting universal service

s Opening markets to all competitors at once

s Ensuring that all competitors in each market are regulated similarly.

Letting Go of Electric Generation

David P. Wagener

The year-long decline in the electric utility stock market has caught most market observers off guard. Picking the winners among electrics has become more difficult. Says Ed Tirello, long-time market savant and utility equity analyst at NatWest Securities, "Competition and retail wheeling have made the selection process nearly impossible short term."

To identify tomorrow's best industry performers, electric utility analysts have focused on generation.

FERC Asked to Suspend CPUC Auctions

Lori A. Burkhart

Southern California Edison (SCE) has asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to halt the state's Biennial Resource Plan Update energy auction (BRPU). SCE charges that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) violated the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) and FERC regulations by reinstating the auction late last year.

SCE believes that the auction, which requires California utilities to enter purchased-power contracts, could increase its potential stranded costs by up to $4 billion (in nominal dollars).

Old Age Warrants Facelift for Stranded Costs

David P. Wagener

The year-long decline in the electric utility stock market has caught most market observers off guard. Picking the winners among electrics has become more difficult. Says Ed Tirello, long-time market savant and utility equity analyst at NatWest Securities, "Competition and retail wheeling have made the selection process nearly impossible short term."

To identify tomorrow's best industry performers, electric utility analysts have focused on generation.

FEC Questions Derivative Use

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will allow Aquila Power Corp., a power marketing subsidiary of UtiliCorp United Inc., to sell electricity at market-based rates, and has approved open-access transmission tariffs for UtiliCorp (Docket Nos. ER95-203-000 and ER95-216-000). Commissioner William L.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

The other day I heard a short news item on National Public Radio that made me stop and think. The item ran something like this: "Maxwell House has announced it will cut the price of its loose ground coffee to reflect a drop in the coffee futures market several months out."

Wasn't that easy? Call it integrated resource planning in the espresso lane. Note what Maxwell House did not do. It did not solicit a demand forecast or run the PROMOD computer model.

FERC Eases PURPA/FPA Regulatory Burden

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved a final rule streamlining regulations in the Public Utilities Regulatory Policy Act of 1978 and the Federal Power Act (parts I and II) that affect securities issued by public utilities, rate filings by public utilities, and procedural and technical rules governing qualifying facilities (QFs) (Docket No. RM92-12-000). The changes aim to reduce the regulatory burden on the QF industry.

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