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Fortnightly Magazine - October 15 1995

Mandatory Wheeling: Is the FERC Overstepping its Bounds?Donald B. Craven and Anthony F. Shelley

Donald B. Craven and Anthony F. Shelley

In its recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) on wholesale competition and open-access transmission,1 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has outlined a plan to revolutionize the electricity industry.

Otter Tail Pursues WAPA

Lori A. Burkhart

Otter Tail Power Co. (OTP) president John MacFarlane is pursuing the utility's plan to manage the assets of a portion of the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) for a five-year period, to smooth the way toward privatization of the nation's power marketing agencies (PMAs).

MacFarlane has written for support to the senators who represent OTP's utility's three-state service area: Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Tom Daschle (D-SD), Larry Pressler (R-SD), Rod Grams (R-MN), and Paul Wellstone (D-MN).

Electric Restructuring: NOt by FERC AloneVito Stagliano

Vito Stagliano

The restructuring of electric utilities is fundamentally a matter of national policy (em not a regulatory issue. Regulators are ill-suited to make national policy because they are conditioned to act within the limits of authority specifically granted by legislation, rather than to seek a fresh statutory mandate in response to changed conditions. Policymakers must assess political, social, economic, technological, regional, and national factors to measure the need for reform.

Columbia Gas Seeks Market Rates

Lori A. Burkhart

As part of a request to increase annual revenues by approximately $147 million, Columbia Gas Transmission has asked the Federal Energy

Regulatory Commission (FERC) to approve a set of market-based rates for short-term firm transportation, interruptible transportation, temporary capacity release, and storage services (Docket No. RP95-408).

Can the FERC Overcome Special Interest Politics?Jim Rossi

Jim Rossi

The competitive transformations of the natural gas and telecommunications industries are over a decade in the making. By contrast, competition in the electricity industry is still emerging. Special interests have defeated many proposed competitive reforms. For example, in 1988 the FERC failed in its attempt to adopt regulations to encourage competitive bidding and independent power producers (IPPs).1 Similarly, decades of forceful industry opposition delayed open access in bulk-power markets.

Financial News

Michael Annin

Does the size of a company affect the rate of return it should earn? If smaller companies should earn a higher return than larger firms, then small utilities, because of their size, should be allowed to adjust the rates they charge to customers.By far the most notable and well-documented apparent anomaly in the stock market is the effect of company size on equity returns. The first study focusing on the impact that company size exerts on security returns was performed by Rolf W.

Improving Competitive Position with Natural Gas Storage

John H. Herbert

On a cold day, natural gas from storage reservoirs may supply as much to markets as gas from producing wells. The ability to store gas underground not only ensures reliable delivery during periods of heavy demand, but also allows more level production and pipeline flows throughout the year. Thus, some believe that the cost of storage should be spread over all gas delivered during a year, not just gas delivered from storage sites to end-use customers during the winter.

Electric Restructing and the California "MOU"Alex Henney

Alex Henney

The California Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an agreement between Southern California Edison Co. (SCE), the California Manufacturers' Association, the California Large Energy Consumers' Association, and the Independent Energy Producers. It tackles three major issues:s recovery of stranded assets

s market power

s market structure.

If the MOU is eventually endorsed, it might be a landmark in electric restructuring \(em and not only in California.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

And wires in the air. Together they form the interstate natural gas pipelines and the electric transmission grid. When the talk turns to deregulation, whether on the gas or the electric side, the pipelines and the transmission grid are almost always voted "most likely to." That is, to remain regulated monopolies (em with cost-of-service rates protected by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Let's have a look at that idea.

The FERC has unbundled gas commodity sales from pipeline transportation.

Maryland Opts for "Measured" Restructuring

Phillip S. Cross

The Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) has completed its investigation of market competition and regulatory policies for the electric industry. The PSC chose a "measured approach," ruling against retail wheeling at this time while permitting, but not requiring, utility proposals for performance-based ratemaking.

The PSC described electricity rates in the state as "globally competitive," noting that Maryland's utilities were not encumbered by a lot of expensive nuclear power plants or high-cost cogeneration contracts.

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