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Fortnightly Magazine - March 1 1995

Metering Relationships in the Era of Deregulation

David J. Cook

Deregulation is a battle over metering relationships with commercial customers, not a struggle between competing suppliers of energy.

As long as the local electric utility emerges from the process with exclusive control over its metering, credit, and billing relationships, then deregulation will only cement its position as the customer's primary energy service provider (em and further enhance the "pool" concept by which the local utility acts as agent for the retail customer to purchase energy from independent power pr

Florida Opens Special Access Markets

Phillip S. Cross

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to remove long-standing prohibitions on the resale of special access and private line telecommunications services provided by local exchange carriers (LECs) in the state. It said customers were more concerned about price and quality of service than whether facilities used to provide service were leased or owned by their provider. It added that recent restructuring of private-line service tariffs now ensured that LECs recover the cost of providing such services.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

Merger planning is touchy business. In a hotel crowded with utility executives gathered together to talk mergers, you notice everything: Who's there and who isn't. Who's talking to whom. Who came with his lawyers. And who's always out in the hall on the phone.

That's why I had so much fun last month at the Eighth Annual Utility M&A Symposium, sponsored by EXNET (Public Utilities Reports and The Management Exchange).

Ohio Oks Toledo Edison Merger

Phillip S. Cross

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has approved a merger agreement between Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. and Toledo Edison Co. The utilities, wholly-owned subsidiaries of the same holding company (Centerior Energy Corp.), argued that the PUC had no statutory authority to review the details of the merger and should either dismiss or approve the application.

People

Larry Hobart, executive director of the American Public Power Association, plans to retire on July 1, ending a 35-year career with public power. Hobart became executive director in 1986, and previously served in several management positions. Hobart also serves as v.p. and board member of the Consumer Federation of America.

Pacific Enterprises, parent of Southern California Gas Co., has restructured the company, to include a new Office of the Chairman. The new office will be headed jointly by Willis B.

Appeals Court Faults Pipeline Return Award

Phillip S. Cross

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has overturned a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) gas pipeline order, finding that the FERC had failed to support its decision to use a hypothetical capital structure in determining the pipeline's revenue requirement. In setting rates for Transcontinental Gas Pipeline, the FERC found the corporate parent's equity ratio of 16.27 percent abnormally low.

Utilities Volunteer to Clear the Air

W. Lynn Garner

Thirteen of the nation's largest public utilities signed agreements with the Department of Energy (DOE), committing themselves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a combined total of 2.5 million metric tons by 2000. Last year, over 800 utilities pledged to cooperate with the Clinton Administration's goal of reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2000 in all industrial sectors.

N.J. Approves LDC Price Hedging Plan

Phillip S. Cross

While permitting New Jersey Natural Gas Co., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to continue adjustment-clause recovery of its pipeline transition costs, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) has approved a "financial risk-management pilot program" designed to protect the LDC from extreme supply price volatility. According to the BPU, the program will reduce supply costs by "locking in" alternative gas-supply prices using natural gas options traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

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.

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