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Fortnightly Magazine - April 1 1995

The Electric and Gas Industries are Converging: What Does it Mean?

Vinod K. Dar

RETAIL DEREGULATION:

A TRANSFORMING EVENT

Retail sales of gas and electricity run about $300 billion a year. The deregulation of energy production, wholesale logistics, and bulk consumption has brought competition to about 40 to 45 percent of the value chain from wellhead and busbar to the retail meter.

Louisville G&E Settles on Comparability

Lori A. Burkhart

Louisville Gas and Electric Co. (LG&E) has filed a settlement offer on comparability of electric transmission, the result of negotiations with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff since November. The first of its kind filed at the FERC, the settlement forms part of LG&E's comparable transmission service case, which involves the utility's network and point-to-point tariffs.

The Growing Strategic Role of Fuels

Jeffrey P. Price

The advent of a competitive electric utility industry will fundamentally change the role of fuels in the industry. The fact that fuel is the dominant variable cost in power generation will reverse the relationship between the fuels and power production functions in many companies. Only plants that are competitive will operate; only operating plants will produce revenues.

FERC Investigates Gas Transportation Pricing

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has asked for comments on alternatives to traditional cost-of-service pricing for interstate natural gas pipeline transportation rates (Docket No. RM95-6-000). In response to many requests from pipeline companies to approve rates based on other pricing methods, some cost-based and some not, the FERC wants to develop a framework for analyzing alternative proposals.

Rethinking the Secondary Market for Natural Gas Transportation

Ronald C. Denhardt

This year the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) plans to examine the resale of firm natural gas transportation rights, often referred to as the secondary market. The current regulatory structure, which provides for "capacity release" through an electronic bulletin board (EBB), was born in November 1993. How would this secondary market behave under different regulatory or market assumptions?

Marketers Demand Generic Comparability

Lori A. Burkhart

Six major independent power marketers, calling themselves the Coalition for a Competitive Electric Market, have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to begin broad-based, competitive reforms of the nation's electric service industry by winter 1996-97. Ultimately, they want the FERC to force all electric utilities that own transmission wires to allow marketers and other transmission-dependent power sellers and buyers to use their lines on a comparable basis.

Natural Gas Pipelines: Roadmap to Reform

Frank A. Felder and Scott T. Jones

Gas pipeline reform is looming on the horizon like the stealth bomber. It faded from view a couple years ago, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) completed Order 636 and turned to electric issues. Yet gas reforms are more pressing: They began earlier, their direction is clearer, and their completion is closer at hand. In fact, without a more price-responsive market for gas transportation, we cannot fashion an efficient and integrated energy industry.

Dam Removal Policy Carved in Stone

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has refused to reconsider its December 14, 1994, policy statement on hydroelectric plant decommissioning. That policy upholds the FERC's authority to deny new project licenses when existing licenses expire and to order owners to remove a dam during the relicensing process (Docket Nos. RM93-23-000, RM93-23-001). Commissioner James J.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

As a student of utility regulation, you will of course know the difference between the Ninth and the Tenth Amendments. If not, let's reiterate.

The Ninth permits everything that is not prohibited. The Tenth prohibits everything not otherwise permitted. The one governs the People; the other governs the Government. That's all there is. Now imagine standing on both feet behind a podium, in front of a luncheon crowd of about 100 think-tank types, and holding an audience spellbound for over an hour as you expound upon this noble topic.

Financial News

W. Lynn Garner

There is a price to pay for becoming a lean, mean fighting machine, and utilities paid the price in 1994.

A number of electric utilities saw revenues increase last year on the strength of higher sales, but the costs associated with laying off hundreds of employees and downsizing company operations took a significant bite out of earnings.

A PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY survey of the nation's top 20 electric utilities shows an increase in their combined 1994 revenues to $107 billion, a healthy 3.6-percent rise over the previous year.

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