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Fortnightly Magazine - November 15 1995

PUCs at 2000 - Question OneState Commissioners

Question: Will your commission still be around in the year 2000? If so, what will it look like? Are you restructuring your commission with the same fervor you devote to electricity, gas, and telecommunications?Response by Nancy McCaffree, Chair, Montana Public Service Commission:

As a regulator I have had the opportunity to listen to economists, energy planners, and other professional soothsayers. I have come to the conclusion that the only certainty pertaining to future forecasts is that they will be wrong 100 percent of the time.

Open-access Filings Climbing

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has accepted seven more open-access electric transmission tariffs, bringing the total to 34. Another six are pending. The new tariffs were submitted by Jersey Central Power & Light Co.,

Mid-American Energy Co., Illinois Power Co., Wisconsin Power & Light Co., Western Resources, Inc., IES Utilities, and Commonwealth Electric Co.

"We consider this a success story," said FERC chair Elizabeth A. Moler. "While we still have a long way to go, this is real progress.

PUCs at 2000 - Question TwoState Commissioners

Question: What is your relationship with the state legislature? Do lawmakers in your state show interest in utility regulation? Should PUCs work more closely with state legislatures?Response by Boyce Griffith, Chairman, West Virginia Public Service Commission:

The West Virginia PSC's relationship with the legislature is good. The West Virginia legislature has been active in utility regulation. I believe West Virginia utilities already work closely with the legislature and will continue to do so.

FERC Eases Gas Reporting Burden

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued two final rules that seek to reduce the filing burden on the natural gas industry. One simplifies the Uniform System of Accounts and the FERC's reporting requirements (Docket No. RM95-4-000). The other simplifies the filing requirements for making rate and tariff changes under Part 154 of the regulations (Docket No. RM95-3-000).

The rules recognize that most interstate pipelines now serve as transporters rather than as merchants.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

Did you hear the one about the middle-aged utility executive who became depressed about plans to restructure his company? It seems he couldn't cope with how fast things were changing. So he threw himself in front of a glacier.

That story comes from a meeting I attended back in October, styled Executive Visioning Workshop, sponsored by Arthur D. Little, Inc., which attracted some 21 energy industry executives.

NEPOOL Goes for Marketers, Brokers

Lori A. Burkhart

The New England Power Pool (NEPOOL) has filed an amendment to its agreement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), seeking to open the power pool's membership to power marketers and brokers involved in the wholesale power business. Prior to the amendment, only electric utilities with retail customers, their affiliates, and independent power producers were eligible for membership. According to Frank Sabatino, chairman of NEPOOL's executive committee, the action is a significant first step in redefining NEPOOL's role in the increasingly competitive bulk-power market.

People

MidCon Corp. named Dennis M. Lawler power marketing v.p. in its MidCon Power Services Corp. unit. Lawler comes from Consolidated Natural Gas Co.

In a promotion, Mark Kugelman will manage account sales for Parker Hannifin Corp.'s Power Distribution Group.

The American Gas Association (A.G.A.) elected chairmen for its financial and administrative, operating, marketing and legal sections: Bruce R. Debolt, senior v.p. and CFO of Northwest Natural Gas Co.; Frederick L.

Financial News

Annual Annual EPS

Close Close Percent 52-Wk 52-Wk Div Div Book P/E Last

Company Region 06/30/95 10/02/95 Change High Low Rate Yield Value Ratio 12 Mos.Electric UtilitiesAEP Company Inc. Midwest 35.13 36.13 2.85 36.50 30.50 2.40 6.64 22.68 14 2.63

Unicom Corp.

Trends

Todd A. Myers, and Pamela Custode

Over the past four months, Resource Data International (RDI) has been analyzing Continuous Emission Monitoring System (CEMS) data collected by the Environmental Protection Association (EPA) under Title IV of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 (CAAA). Title IV requires electric utilities to reduce emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) (em precursors to acid rain.

The Color of Just Compensation

William D. Grand

Government agencies sometimes condemn privately owned operating utilities for their own use. Water companies, landfills, hydroelectric plants, and transportation lines are examples.

But these cases pose a problem: How to measure "just compensation," especially when regulators set the rates charged (and profits earned) by a privately owned utility at artificially low levels, even when the commodity is scarce and the need for the service high.

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