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Fortnightly Magazine - March 1 1995

Point Beach Gets Dry Storage Capacity

W. Lynn Garner

After years of review, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved a Wisconsin Electric Power Co. plan to provide additional dry storage capacity for spent fuel at the Point Beach nuclear plant. Without it, the plant would be forced to close by 1998, the company said. Point Beach, located on the shore of Lake Michigan in Manitowoc County, consists of two 500-megawatt reactors that produce a sixth of the state's electricity. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission spent four years reviewing the plan before approving the modular system of steel and reinforced concrete.

Ohio Approves LDC Transition Cost Plan

Phillip S. Cross

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a settlement agreement governing how National Gas & Oil Corp. will recover all pipeline transition cost charges from its customers. National, a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), will recover supply restructuring charges through both the sales tariff transition cost account (79 percent) and the transportation transition cost account (21 percent). It will recover gas cost charges from sales customers through its gas cost recovery mechanism. Re National Gas & Oil Corp. Case No. 94-1549-GA-UNC, Dec.

Court Upholds Storage Cask Licensing

W. Lynn Garner

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati has ruled that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) acted properly in licensing the use of ventilated, dry storage casks for spent nuclear fuel at Consumer Power Co.'s Palisades nuclear plant. Despite challenges from public interest groups and the attorney general of Michigan, the court found adequate input from the public in the NRC licensing process, which is used for all reactor sites nationwide. Michael G.

Alternative Regulation Plan Loweers Rates for LEC

Phillip S. Cross

The Tennessee Public Service Commission (PSC) has finalized an $8.7-million rate reduction for United Telephone-Southeast, Inc. under an alternative regulation plan in place since 1991. The rate reduction is the first under the plan's three-year earnings review procedures.

Gas on the Rise in 1995

W. Lynn Garner

The American Gas Association

(A.G.A.) forecasts a 3.4-percent increase in natural gas use for 1995, to 22.5 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) from 21.7 quads in 1994. "Such an increase would continue an eight-year trend that has seen natural gas consumption rise nearly 30 percent since 1986," Michael Baly, A.G.A. president, noted in a presentation to New York securities analysts.

Ohio Modifies LDC Curtailment Regulations

Phillip S. Cross

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has modified its natural gas transportation guidelines for local distribution companies (LDCs) to reflect changes in the industry under FERC Order 636. The PUC said its revisions would give customers a clearer understanding of service rights and curtailment procedures under the restructuring, and reflected the fundamental principle that each gas service must be offered on a comparable basis (em whether provided under bundled or unbundled tariffs.


Richard Nemec

Time was that operating changes drove communications changes, and employee acceptance was a given. The changes now permeating the utility industry, however, require us to think, and operate, differently. Operating and communications changes need to unfold simultaneously. If communications is constantly playing catch up to changing operations, employees begin to lose motivation and effectiveness. Eventually, customers notice and begin to complain.

Hawaii Oks PBOP Recovery

Phillip S. Cross

After considering the matter in several proceedings since 1991, the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has decided to permit the state's utilities to include in rates the full cost of switching from cash to accrual accounting for post-retirement benefits other than pensions (PBOPs) under SFAS 106. The PUC rejected proposals to require the utilities to alter certain SFAS 106 financial reporting requirements (em for example, extending the amortization period for recovery of PBOP transition costs from 20 to 40 years.

Company Profile

W. Lynn Garner

When a steel mill threatened to pull out of New Jersey and move to the Southeast where electricity rates are cheaper, Public Service Electric & Gas Co. (PSE&G) did some creative thinking.

How could it keep the mill, Co-Steel Raritan, and its 500 jobs and $36-million annual payroll in Perth Amboy, NJ?

After considerable negotiation, PSE&G proposed an experimental hourly pricing plan that lets Co-Steel Raritan take advantage of the lowest fuel costs within the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) pool.

Federal Preemption Blocks Municipal Condemnation

Phillip S. Cross

A U.S. District Court (Eastern District, Oklahoma) has ruled that the City of Stilwell's attempted condemnation of Ozark Electric Cooperative facilities and customers within an annexed area of the city's corporate boundaries was preempted under federal law. The court found that allowing the city to "skim the cream" of the co-op's service area would frustrate the Rural Electrification Act's (REAct's) objective of providing reliable and affordable electric service to rural America.