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Fortnightly Magazine - May 1 1995

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).

Frontlines

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.

People

Sherrie Rutherford was named v.p. and general counsel of NorAm Gas Transmission, the pipeline and gas marketing subsidiary of NorAm Energy Corp. She succeeds Dale Earwood, who was promoted to president, NorAm Field Services.

MCN Corp. named Thomas J. Connelly director, investor relations. He previously was director, project finance.

Michael R. Weber was named manager, environmental affairs, for CMS Generation Co., the independent power subsidiary of CMS Energy Corp.

Paul L.

Nation's First RTG on its Way

Lori A. Burkhart

As required under a conditional approval order issued in October, the Western Regional Transmission Association (WRTA) has filed its compliance agreement at the FERC (Docket No. ER94-1288-000). WRTA agrees to provide comparable transmission service, and has filed a transmission plan that gives individual members the right to make the final decisions on whether transmission facilities are built. WRTA has 31 members (em utilities, state agencies, and independent power producers (IPPs) (em that represent 70 percent of the transmission capabilities in the western United States.

Mailbag

NUGs Take the Cake

I take great exception to the presumption of Messrs. Costello, Burns, and Hegazy ("How State Regulators Should Handle Retail Wheeling," Feb. 15, 1995) that retail wheeling's "day will come." This is the oft repeated but never proven siren's song of Elcon's John Anderson and the other industrial/ cogeneration groups. The authors write: "For retail wheeling to become politically palatable, legislatures and PUCs must address the question of how to minimize the negative effects on core customers in the short term." Why?

Financial News

Charles M. Studness

The financial community's focus on utility competition has been riveted on the proceedings now in progress at state regulatory commissions. The fear that something immediately damaging will come out of these proceedings seems to have diminished in recent months, and the stock market has reacted favorably. However, regulatory developments are only one of four paths leading to competition; the others are the marketplace, the legislatures, and the courts.

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