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Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 1996

IBM, NIPSCO Increase Productivity

Lori A. Burkhart

Northern Indiana Public Service Co. (NIPSCO) and IBM have developed the Integrity/Customer Services System, which provides any customer service with one telephone call. Customer questions that previously required several transfers will now be handled by a single representative who has access to billing, service, and repair information. Property owners with several buildings or several tenants at one building will receive a combined bill, rather than separate bills for each meter.

Utilities to Monitor Cellular Radiation

Phillip S. Cross

Scientific studies have not indicated any

"obvious relationship" between prolonged lower-level radio frequency (RF) radiation exposure and increased disease in humans, according to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The CPUC's investigation into electromagnetic fields (EMF) and RF radiation at cellular radio telephone facilities found cellular power densities consistently below current industry exposure standards.

AEP Consolidates Nuclear Employees

Lori A. Burkhart

American Electric Power Co. (AEP) plans to consolidate its Columbus, OH, nuclear generation management and support staff with the nuclear staff at its Donald C. Cook plant in Bridgman, MI. The relocation, scheduled for summer 1996, affects about 250 employees. About 50 positions

will be cut. Total employees in the AEP nuclear

organization will be reduced from about 1,300 to about 1,180, a 9.2-percent cut.

11

Moody's Finds CINergy Well Positioned

Lori A. Burkhart

Moody's Investors Service has upgraded the credit ratings of PSI Energy Co. (PSI), Cincinnati Gas & Electric Co. (CGE), and Union Light Heat & Power Co. The upgrades (em which affect about $3.8 billion in debt securities (em reflect strengthening financial position coupled with low business risks.

Wired or Mired? Electronic Information for the Gas Industry

Sheila S. Hollis, and Andrew S. Katz

Management expert Peter F. Drucker has observed that our society has entered a "post-capitalist" stage in which economic activity is organized around information: "The basic economic resource ... is no longer 'capital' nor 'natural resources'...

Perspective

George C. Loehr

There are essentially two kinds of reliability: sufficient generating capacity, and sufficient transmission capacity. Although it often receives the most attention, generation accounts for only about 10 percent of reliability concerns. Even when there is a problem, there is usually time to prepare; demand can be reduced through voltage reductions, interruptible customers, public appeals, and as a last resort, rotating blackouts.

Just in Time: EDI for Gas Nominations

Greg M. Lander

To listen to some, EDI stands for "Everybody's Doing It." But there's more to it than that. The natural gas market is not simply about electronic bulletin boards (EBBs) or electronic data interchange (EDI), which reconciles potentially inconsistent data, protocols, and trading customs among pipelines, shippers, distributors, and end users. Instead, it should be about solutions (em solutions that work across regions, across enterprises.

EDI is tough.

Financial News

Charles M. Studness

Recovery of stranded investment is clearly the central point of contention in the debate over utility competition. Customers oppose competition and utilities favor it (em for what appear to be clear-cut reasons. Recovery would delay the benefits of competition for customers, but would give utilities additional cash and temporary protection against competitive price pressures. The battle has unfortunately turned into a morality play that centers on the right to recover stranded investment.

Price Risk Management: Electric Power vs. Natural Gas

Judah Rosa, and Charles Mann

The deregulated power market will feature large numbers of buyers and sellers. Buyers will worry that prices will rise unexpectedly above current levels; sellers will worry that prices will fall unexpectedly. Some will be interested in fixed-price forward deals that protect them from these risks.

Evolving FERC Merger Policy Delays "Altus" Deal

Lori A. Burkhart

It appears that The Washington Water Power Co. (WWP) and Sierra Pacific Power Co. (SPP), which were hoping for a quick OK on their proposed merger to form "Altus," may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead of a perfunctory approval, the WWP/SPP merger now may become the test case for evolving merger policy at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Perhaps the utilities should have seen it coming. In approving the Midwest Power Systems, Inc./Iowa-Illinois Gas & Electric Co. merger, FERC Commissioners William L.

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