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Fortnightly Magazine - March 15 1995

Niagara Mohawk gets Rate Increase

Lori A. Burkhart

Two New York Public Service Commission administrative law judges (ALJs) have recommended that Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. (NMP) be allowed to increase its 1995 electric and gas rates by $57 million (1.9 percent) and $10.7 million (1.7 percent), respectively (Docket Nos. 94-E-0098, 94-E-0099, and 94-G-0100). The proposal contrasts sharply with the PSC's 1994 recommendation to cut NMP rates by 7.1 percent over five years. NMP had asked for a 1.8-percent hike in electric rates, and a 4.2-percent increase in gas rates.

Tennessee to Review LDC Transition Costs

Phillip S. Cross

The Tennessee Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has opened a generic proceeding to establish a policy governing recovery of Order 636 pipeline transition costs by natural gas local distribution companies (LDCs). The PUC noted that one LDC, Nashville Gas Co., is currently recovering costs from all customer classes based on total system throughput, but has agreed to halve the charge for interruptible customers. Other LDCs use different methods to assess the costs to customers.

Breaking the Bulk-Power BottlenecksWallace Edward Brand

Wallace Edward Brand

By Wallace Edward BrandWallace Edward Brand practices law in his own firm in Washington, DC, where he represents small electric systems.

Wisconsin Initiates Competition Proceedings

Lori A. Burkhart

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) has moved one step closer to competition, meeting with electric utility representatives to explain the restructuring. Commissioner Scott Neitzel, who will oversee the process, plans to convene an 18-member committee, representing various interests, to recommend ways of introducing competition. Neitzel maintains that all customer classes will either benefit or be held harmless by the changes.

SEC Cost Approves Valid for FERC

Phillip S. Cross

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, following an earlier decision by the District of Columbia Circuit, has rejected claims by Ohio municipal utilities that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) erred when it allowed Ohio Power Co. to recover the full cost of coal paid to affiliated suppliers without applying a "comparable market test" to make sure the costs were reasonable.

Who Will Regulate PoolCo-the FBI?

Eugene P. Coyle

Eugene P. Coyle works as an energy analyst for Toward Utility Rate Normalization (TURN), a consumer advocacy group in California that claims 30,000 members.

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The January mini-forum failed to discuss a key underlying assumption made by PoolCo proponents. The assumption is that price competition will really exist in tomorrow's wholesale electric market.

Coal Change Fuels VP/DRi Dispute

Lori A. Burkhart

Virginia Corporation Commission staff have discovered that Virginia Power Co. (VP) customers overpaid $11 million for fuel under a renegotiated coal-hauling contract with CSX Transportation. Without corrective action, VP would continue to bill ratepayers for excessive fuel payments through 2000, when the contract expires.

DSM Rate Surcharge Remanded in PA

Phillip S. Cross

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court has overturned and remanded parts of a ruling by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) that allows electric companies to impose rate surcharges to recover costs associated with demand-side management (DSM) programs, including lost revenues and incentives for program performance. The court ruled that state law limits recovery of incentives or the costs of physical facilities to base rate proceedings.

PoolCo, Bilateral Trading, and Technology

Alex Henney

Alex Henney is associated with Energy Economic Engineering Ltd. in London, and has consulted in many countries. As early as February 1987, Henney advocated competitively restructuring the electricity supply industry and incorporating a pool as a real-time spot market. He is the author of A Study of the Privatisation of the Electricity Supply Industry in England and Wales.

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Last year, the Norwegian Market Co. decided to stick with bilateral trading and a spot market.

Centerior Plans to Fire Up Plants

Lori A. Burkhart

Centerior Energy Co. (CE) has signed a power-marketing agreement with Citizens Lehman Power L.P. to make long-term power sales outside of CE's Northern Ohio service territories. CE will make available 550 megawatts of generating capacity from five presently idle fossil-fuel plants. This capacity will support the development of a number of "creative" wholesale power sales packages. The plants, owned by CE subsidiaries, are Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co.'s Lake Shore Plant and Toledo Edison's Acme Station. (em LB

W. Lynn Garner is senior writer and Lori A.

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