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Fortnightly Magazine - November 15 1995

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.

BG&E, PEPCO Join Forces

Lori A. Burkhart

Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. (BG&E) on September 25 announced that it would acquire Potomac Electric Power Co. (PEPCO) for $2.9 billion, creating an as-yet unnamed company with assets exceeding $15 billion, and annual revenues of about $5 billion. The new company will be one of the 10 largest electric utilities in the nation, with 1.8 million electric customers and 530,000 natural gas customers.

BG&E shareholders will receive one share of stock in the new utility for each share of common stock. PEPCO stockholders will receive .997 share for each share.

Washington Scraps Decoupling Mechanism

Phillip S. Cross

While approving a $58.8-million annual rate increase for Puget Sound Power & Light Co., the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has also agreed to terminate its experimental periodic rate adjustment mechanism (PRAM).

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