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Fortnightly Magazine - March 1 1996

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

Mark your calendars for April 29, 1996. That's the date of the "filing of the century," according to Donald Garber, group manager for strategic plans and projects at San Diego Gas & Electric Co.

Garber is talking about plans to file a draft operating agreement at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the proposed California Power Exchange. The April filing will mark an important step in executing the December 20 order by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

States Differ on Capacity-release Revenues

Phillip S. Cross

Bucking the current trend among state utility regulators, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (URC) has denied a request by Northern Indiana Public Service Co., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to retain a portion of the revenues it receives from pipeline capacity-release transactions. The LDC asked the URC to permit shareholders to retain 50 percent of the revenues gained from participation in the "secondary market" for interstate pipeline capacity instead of flowing them back to ratepayers through the quarterly gas-cost adjustment (GCA) mechanism.

People

William T. O'Connor, Jr. has been hired as nuclear assessment manager at Detroit Edison's Fermi 2 nuclear power plant. He comes from Toledo Edison's Davis-Besse nuclear plant, where he was regulatory affairs manager.

Daniel Bollom, WPS Resources Corp. CEO, has been promoted to chairman of the board. Larry Weyers, senior v.p.-power supply and engineering, was promoted to president and COO of both WPSR and Wisconsin Public Service Corp., one of WPSR's holdings.

IXCs Get Boost from N.Y. PSC

Phillip S. Cross

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has ordered New York Telephone Co., a telecommunications local exchange carrier (LEC), to notify customers that they may now choose an alternative carrier for intraLATA toll calling. Interexchange carriers (IXCs) in the state had complained about the LEC's plans to implement a recent PSC order requiring equal access for intraLATA toll services.

Joules

jü( )l, n: A unit of energy measurement equal to a watt-second.

Union Electric Co. and the Electric Power Research Institute have teamed on a low-cost geothermal project that uses water from an abandoned lead mine to heat and cool the new Park City, MO, town hall. The mine's 70 billion gallons of water remain at 58°F year-round. In winter, well water goes through a heat exchanger, transferring heat from the mine water to a heat pump system, which converts the heat to warm air. In summer, the process is reversed.

Merger to Benefit LDC Gas Procurement Efforts

Phillip S. Cross

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) has permitted MidAmerican Energy Co. (em the corporate parent of recently merged Midwest Gas and Iowa-Illinois Electric and Gas Co. (em to include combined gas-procurement performance data as part of an experimental gas-supply incentive program originally designed for MidWest Gas alone. The IUB rejected a proposal to terminate the program and consider separate programs for the companies, finding an artificial separation of the performance data of the now-combined gas-supply departments unproductive.

Failed Muni Fight Shut Anchor's Door

Joseh F. Schuler, Jr.

Anchor Glass Container closed its Aberdeen, NJ, manufacturing plant on January 15, after a failed effort to municipalize the township's electric system. Anchor also closed its Houston, TX, plant the same day. Walter J. Schaffer, the company's energy director, says energy costs were one of the reasons for the Aberdeen closing, which left most of the 326 workers unemployed. He also admits that the fight with Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) (see, "Anchor Glass vs. JCP&L," PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY, 2/1/96) did little to strengthen Anchor's economic position.

Decoupling Charge to Expire

Phillip S. Cross

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has turned back a pre-merger attempt by Puget Sound Power and Light Co. to make permanent a $165.5-million rate increase allowed under its periodic rate adjustment mechanism (PRAM). (The PRAM is designed to remove disincentives to utility conservation efforts by "decoupling" revenues from sales levels and relying instead on a revenue-per-customer approach to cost recovery.) Puget had earlier agreed to defer a scheduled base-rate filing pending the UTC's review of its proposed merger with Washington Energy Co.

Real-time Pricing Proposed in Penn.

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

About 1,360 customers of Metropolitan Edison Co. (Met-Ed) and Pennsylvania Electric Co. (Penelec) may be buying power this month under a real-time pricing (RTP) plan (em if the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) approves the utilities' proposal. Industrial and commercial customers with demand over 400 kilowatts (Kw) would agree to a historical load, or customer baseline load, for a year. Beyond that load, energy would be bought at hourly market rates.

Off Peak

Jonathan A. Crystal

Fee Simple? Utility Board Directors Get Less Than Peers

How do fees for utility board directors match up to those at other companies? Not too shabbily, as the following data show, but on the whole more modestly.

The Spencer Stuart SSBI Survey traced Board trends, based on proxy data, at 100 of the nation's leading publicly held corporations. The companion UI Survey focused on Board compensation at the 50 largest publicly owned utilities.

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