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Fortnightly Magazine - April 1 1995

Mass. Utilities Settle Stranded Investment Issues

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has accepted a settlement agreement between Massachusetts Electric Co. (ME), the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), and Boston Edison Co., which decides stranded investment and wheeling issues arising from ME's loss of MBTA as a retail customer (Docket No. ER94-129-000). The case arose in 1991, when the Massachusetts legislature designated MBTA a "domestic electric utility," allowing MBTA to leave ME. MBTA then signed a wholesale supply agreement with Boston Edison.

California Denies Rehearing on IntraLATA Competition

Phillip S. Cross

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has denied applications for rehearing and a request for a stay of its recent decision to expand intraLATA competition and redesign rates for local exchange carriers to prevent revenue losses and ensure the proper pricing of bundled competitive services. Re Alternative Regulatory Frameworks for Local Exchange Carriers, I.87-11-033; Application Nos. 85-01-034 et al., Decision 95-01-047, Jan 24., 1995 (Cal.P.U.C.). t

Phillip S. Cross is an associate legal editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.

49

Perspective

Patricia M. Eckhert

We stand on the threshold of a new era in the electric services industry. I deliberately avoid the term "electric utility industry," because the future is not limited to the vertically integrated monopoly utility. Many utilities may already perceive the first cracks in their armor: nonutility generators (NUGs), self-generators, and energy service companies.

Competition is not in the industry's future; it is here now. Further, competition and market forces are not going to magically disappear.

Telecom Reform: New Congress, New Bill

Lori A. Burkhart

Here we go again. Last year, the 103rd Congress failed to pass the much-promised and highly touted telecommunications reform legislation aimed at bringing the antiquated Communications Act of 1934 into the 21st century. Now it's up to the 104th Congress, and both parties have draft legislation ready to go.

In February, Sen.

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.

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