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Fortnightly Magazine - May 1 1995

MFS Asks FCC to Open the Local Loop

Lori A. Burkhart

MFS Communications Co. (MFS) has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to order monopoly local exchange carriers (LECs) to open access to the "local loop" for competitive telephone companies at a cost-based rate. The MFS "Open Loop Initiative" seeks to speed development of local telephone competition and to provide a choice of local carriers.

The local loop is that part of the local telephone network that physically connects the customer's premises to the LEC central office.

Illinois Avoided Cost Statute in Line with PURPA

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has ruled that an Illinois statute did not require rates above avoided cost for wholesale sales by qualifying facilities (QFs), and so did not violate the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) (Docket No. EL95-27-000).

The statute at issue requires a utility to buy power from qualifying solid-waste energy facilities at the utility's retail rate. But the statute includes an offsetting monthly tax credit, which prevents a utility from paying more than its avoided costs.

Implementing Transmission Access: Getting the Genie Out of the Bottle(neck)

Richard P. Felak

In tales of old, it was just a matter of finding the bottle, rubbing it the right way, and VOILA! (em out came the genie to grant our wishes. But that myth hasn't worked to fully open up transmission (em at least not to date. Some say the devil is in the details, but these details are truly devilish.

FERC to Flesh Out Comparability

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has set for hearing issues related to a proposed, open-access transmission tariff for point-to-point service in Citizens Utilities Co.'s (CU) Arizona service territory. It also approved CU's agreement requiring a transmission customer, Aha Macav Power Systems, Inc., to pay a $190,000 contribution in aid of construction (CIAC) to interconnect to CU's grid (Docket No.

Electric Reliability: How PJM Tripped on Gas-fired Plants

John Hanger

Just after the sun rose on January 19, 1994, the mercury fell to new record low temperatures. Lights went out, furnaces shut off, and computer screens went blank in parts of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Washington, DC, and Pennsylvania.

EPA Awards Bonus SO2 Allowances

Lori A. Burkhart

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded 1,349 acid rain bonus allowances to 10 utilities: City of Austin; New York State Electric and Gas; Orange and Rockland; Western Massachusetts Electric; United Illuminating; Cincinnati Gas and Electric; Massachusetts Electric; Granite State Electric; Narragansett Electric; and Long Island Lighting. The awards are based on utility energy efficiency and use of renewable energy.

Pursuant to the acid rain requirements of the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, an allowance licenses the emission of one ton of sulfur dioxide (SO2).

Using Hourly System Lambda to Gauge Bulk-power Prices

William C. Booth and Judah L. Rose

The electric power industry lies in the midst of major change, including a shift to market-based wholesale prices. Market players and regulators will recognize that competition requires a shift in thinking on key issues such as resource planning before the market is developed enough to provide adequate price information.

IEP Challenges BRPU Ruling

Lori A. Burkhart

The Independent Energy Producers (IEP), a Sacramento-based independent energy advocacy group, has announced that it will petition for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to reconsider its ruling that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) violated the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) by requiring two utilities to purchase power at above avoided costs (FERC Docket Nos. EL95-16-000 and EL95-19-000).


Bruce W. Radford

If anyone ever asks about what you read in this column, tell them you heard it somewhere else.

Of course, I don't really mean that. Let me put it another way: The FORTNIGHTLY gets invited here and there with the understanding that some things will end up in print, and others not. And while I never quote anyone if they were holding a fork or a glass, I do my best to bring back the inside story.

FERC Revamps Hydro Regulations

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved a final rule on charges and fees for hydroelectric projects. Annual charges will now be assessed beginning on the date construction starts rather than when a license is issued (Docket No. RM-93-7-000). The rule eliminates annual charges for minor licensees (em projects of 1.5 megawatts or less (em and caps annual charges at two percent of total costs incurred by the FERC. To update its regulation, the FERC also substituted kilowatts for horsepower to determine capacity.