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Fortnightly Magazine - October 1 1995

Aggregating Municipal Loads: The Future is Today

Kevin W. O'Donnell

The debate today in many state capitals is whether electric restructuring will help or hurt the residential and small commercial customer.

Proponents of wholesale and retail wheeling foresee a positive result. They claim that residential and small commercial electric consumers stand to gain as much from competition in electric generation as do large industrial customers with high load factors.

FERC Asked to Reconsider Avoided-cost Order

Lori A. Burkhart

Metropolitan Edison Co. (ME) and Pennsylvania Electric Co. (PE), subsidiaries of General Public Utilities Corp. (GPU), have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for rehearing on parts of its July 6 order, which the two companies had challenged under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act in Pennsylvania (Docket No. EL95-41-000).

Specifically, the utilities had challenged the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission's (PUC's) method of using a coal plant proxy to calculate a default level of avoided costs.

Demand-side Management: Mitigate, Don't Eliminate

Jeremy Levin

Electric utilities nationwide are attempting to retreat from commitments to energy efficiency (em a retreat that will benefit few customers, while damaging many. This retreat is driven by fear of retail wheeling (em that consumers will be able to shop for the lowest prices among competing entities. In turn, the threat of retail wheeling has spurred utilities to a frantic scramble to cut costs and trim rates.

Electric Industry Restructuring: The States Forge Ahead

Brian Gish

About 30 states have begun (em

either through the legislature, the utility commission, informal working groups, or some combination of these (em to consider issues such as retail wheeling, unbundled utility structures, and alternative rate regulation.1 California's "Blue Book" hearings have drawn the most attention, but significant efforts are also underway elsewhere. Although each state is approaching the issue in its own way, successful industry restructuring will ultimately require coordination across state lines.

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.).

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