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Fortnightly Magazine - October 1 1995

California DSM: A Pyrrhic Victory for Energy Efficiency?

Robert L. Bradley, Jr.

California has led the nation in utility expenditures for ratepayer-subsidized energy conservation, also called

demand-side management (DSM).1

With broad-based support from utilities, consumer representatives, environmentalists, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), and the California Energy Commission (CEC), some $1.8 billion has been spent since 1990 (and $

Ontario Faults Gas DSM Plan

Phillip S. Cross

While setting rates for Union Gas Ltd., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), the Ontario Energy Board found the LDC's demand-side management (DSM) plan deficient and ordered shareholders to bear the cost of any required remedies. The Board found, however, that denying the DSM budget would make it harder for the LDC to accomplish energy conservation and environmental objectives and, would run contrary to the public interest.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

On the morning after Labor Day, back from one last beach fling, Wall Street Journal assistant features editor Max Boot published an editorial castigating California Gov. Pete Wilson for his alleged failure to "take a stand" on electric deregulation in the Golden State ("California's Governor isn't Plugged into Deregulation Debate," Sept. 5, 1995, p. A15). "There's a leadership vacuum here," writes Boot. "Governor Wilson is partly responsible for the problem ... he appointed Mr. Fessler and the other PUC members.

Potomac Electric: Win Some, Lose Some

Phillip S. Cross

The District of Columbia Public Service Commission (PSC)

has allowed Potomac Electric Power Co. rate recovery of costs associated with the development of electric vehicles for fleet use under alternate-fuel vehicle requirements imposed under the Energy Policy Act of 1992. The PSC rejected a request by the Greater Washington Petroleum Committee, an oil industry trade group, to deny funding because electric vehicle technology had not evolved to a point that promotes consumer acceptance of a competitively priced vehicle.

People

The Interstate Natural Gas Association has appointed Terry D. Boss v.p. of environment, safety, and operations. Boss replaces Theodore L. Kinne, who has retired.

R. Paul Grady has resigned as v.p. of corporate development with UGI Corp., a holding company with utility and propane marketing subsidiaries, to become v.p. of sales and operations at its wholly-owned subsidiary AmeriGas Propane, Inc.

Western Fuels Association, Inc. has reelected the following board members: Robert L.

Ill. Approves Telecom Cost-of-Service Rules

Phillip S. Cross

The Illinois Commerce Commission approved new rules for cost-causation principles used by telecommunications carriers in setting rates for competitive and noncompetitive services. The new rules rely on long-run service

incremental-cost studies to measure the cost of providing individual services and to check for subsidies between service groups. Carriers will also be required to use an aggregate revenue approach to test pricing for competitive and noncompetitive services. Re Implementation of Section 13-507 of the Public Utilities Act, No. 92-0211, July 19, 1995 (Ill.C.C.).

Mailbag

Extraterrestrial

I appreciated Michael Gerrard's August piece, "Dodging the NIMBY Bullet: A Solution to Waste Facility Siting" (Perspective, p. 18). Waste facility siting is a subject that I consider a significant problem facing every U.S. citizen. Clearly, source reduction and recycling of waste should be and often is given priority over the construction of new disposal capacity.

Telephone Business Class Under Attack

Phillip S. Cross

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has signaled a willingness to remove the current business/residential differential from local telephone rates. While rejecting a proposal by its staff to begin the rate restructuring move in a case involving rates for a limited number of custom-calling services provided by Harrisonville Telephone Co., a small local exchange carrier, the ICC agreed that a movement toward eliminating the differential was appropriate under current pricing practices.

California Breakthrough

Lori A. Burkhart

At the request of California Gov. Pete Wilson (R) and key state legislators, Southern California Edison (SCE) has forged a consensus with a broad coalition, including electric customers and independent power producers (IPPs), on restructuring principles for California's electric utility industry. According to Thomas Higgins, SCE spokesman, the negotiated settlement represents a breakthrough compromise for the "PoolCo" and "anti-PoolCo" camps that will help prevent a fight in the legislature.

Utah Approves Sale of Telephone Exchange, Allocates Gain

Phillip S. Cross

The Utah Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved the sale of several local telephone exchanges by

U S WEST to South Central Utah Telephone Association, and also approved an agreement governing the rate treatment for the associated gain to U S WEST. The rate agreement allows U S WEST to retain for shareholders a portion of the gain on the sale in return for an obligation to pay for certain system upgrades and reduce the sales price for other transfers currently under consideration by the PSC.

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