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Frontlines

Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 1995

for magnetic fields-emphasized that power quality is largely a distribution system problem. He agrees that more competition will probably improve power quality, not degrade it.

The Wisconsin commission still has a long way to go in its restructuring case. Robert Norcross, who manages the docket, says we "should know a lot more" in the coming weeks, as the PSC goes forward with its scheduled hearings.Municipal Light

If I sneak up your driveway and nail an electric meter to your back porch, are you now my customer? Maybe, says John A. Anderson, executive director of The Electricity Consumers Resource Council.

Last month our senior writer Lynn Garner found himself in New York City on assignment to research and write up a couple of company profiles on gas and electric marketers. While attending the AIC Conference on Power Marketing, Lynn heard conference speaker John Anderson describe a new wrinkle on electric "municipalization" (the move by cities and towns to cut power costs by forming their own public power utility systems).

Anderson calls his new idea "municipalization lite," to distinguish it from other municipalization strategies. For instance, the City of Albuquerque took the long route home. It envisioned taking over all distribution facilities and held a referendum on its municipal electric franchise. But Anderson notes that under Federal Power Act section 211, as amended by the Energy Policy Act of 1992, a municipality can chart a shorter path. It can simply attach its own electric meters to homes already served by an investor-owned utility (IOU), declare itself a "utility" and ask the FERC in "good faith" for a wheeling order. The IOU can cry "Sham," but who knows?

We haven't had time to research the idea further. But to find out what Lynn learned about the fast-moving marketing industry, please turn to page xx.

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A Lite Touch

Borrowing from David Letterman, James E. Franklin (president, Electric Generation Association, and sr. v.p., Cogentrix Energy, Inc.) took time over the holidays to announce his "Top Five" ways to know when wholesale and retail wheeling are here to stay. Among the five:#3 The California PUC issues an update on its Blue Book and no one reads it.We can't wait.

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