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Three company alliances offer utilities new tools to help customers use and save on energy:
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has released proposed rules for real-time information networks and standards of conduct, a "critical" supplement to its electric transmission open-access NOPR (Docket No. RM95-9-000). The FERC wants all utilities to set up information networks that give wholesale sellers and purchasers of electricity equal access to information concerning availability and prices. Five major types of information would be posted:
s Available and total transfer capability
s Provider and reseller transmission service offers and prices
s Provider and third-party ancillary service offers and prices
s Specific transmission service requests and responses
s Informal transmission communications.
All public utilities that own or control interstate transmission facilities would be required to establish an individual utility real-time information network (RIN), or multi-utility RIN, that would become a "node" on the Internet. Customers would be able to use commercially available software to access the information via the Internet and World Wide Web. The final rule on transmission networks will include a document entitled "Standardized Data Sets and Communication Protocols," which will provide detailed technical parameters for information systems operation.
The standards will ensure that transmission owners or controllers gain no advantage over their transmission customers in the sale of electricity. To that end, they would require utilities to separate wholesale generator functions (purchases or sales for resale of electric energy in interstate commerce) from
transmission system operations and reliability functions. The FERC plans to phase in the standards, which are patterned after those required for natural gas pipelines. Phase I will begin on the effective date of the FERC's final rule on nondiscriminatory open access. t
Inside Washington items were reported by Lori A. Burkhart, an associate legal editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.
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