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Fortnightly Magazine - April 1 1996

Fossil in Your Future? A Survival Plan for the Local Gas Distributor

Vincent J. Esposito III

LDC Minimus, LDC Insipidus,

LDC Robustus? Which Would You Rather Be?

Post-Order 636 evolution depends on aggressive regulatory and legislative reform.

"Get out of the gas business. Drop the merchant function. We can't make any money selling gas and we are constantly at risk to having gas costs disallowed. It's a no-win situation.

Bright Outlook for Muni Credit Ratings

Lori A. Burkhart

Standard & Poor's (S&P) has issued its first quarterly report on public power and rural electric cooperatives: Muni Utility Ratings: 1995, 1996, and Beyond. The report predicts that the shakeout in credit quality that has characterized the municipal utility industry since 1993 will continue in 1996. Downgrades and negative outlook assignments will continue to outpace positive ratings actions, but not at the 1995 rate.

State Reviews Marginal Cost Pricing for Gas LDC

Phillip S. Cross

While examining cost allocation and rate design for natural gas distribution services provided by Pacific Gas and Electric Co., a local distribution company (LDC), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has concluded that the long-run marginal cost method it adopted in 1992 was not proving effective in producing prices observed in fully competitive markets.

Decontracting: Stranded Costs for Interstate Pipelines?

Rebecca A. McDonald

Competition from Order 636 has gas customers rethinking their firm capacity options.

Just when everyone thought we had put Order 636 behind us, up pops perhaps our greatest challenge yet: the turnback (or "decontracting") of firm capacity on interstate natural gas pipelines. This phenomenon, now emerging on a few major pipelines, such as Transwestern, El Paso, and Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America, inspires different reactions.

Marketing & Competing

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

When Joel Singer headed the North American Gas Practice at Arthur D. Little, Inc., he helped large companies rethink business strategies to adapt to deregulating markets. Singer called his business model the "competitive strategy framework": "You do not reengineer your way into growth. You've got to figure out what's the growth strategy, then look at building business processes around that."

Singer's approach is becoming evident at Bay State Gas Co. in Westborough, MA.

Gas Rate Case Looks at Interruptible Sales Margin

Phillip S. Cross

The Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) has authorized Connecticut Natural Gas Corp., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to increase rates by $8.9 million, with a return on equity (ROE) of 10.76 percent.

Gas Price Behavior: Gauging Links Between Hubs and Markets

John H. Herbert

Price disparities make hedging difficult (em all the more since futures close before bid week ends. Even so,

a strategy helps.

Gas markets in the United States are complicated, dynamic, and evolving. They offer significant commercial opportunities for some companies, commercial hazards for others.

Many companies find it difficult to estimate the price they will receive for gas the next year, month, week, or day.

PURPA Debate Inches Forward in House

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Divest yourself of generating plants or allow retail sales by competitors, and PURPA's mandatory purchase clause in section 210 will no longer hold.

That's the basic deal to be offered to investor-owned electric utilities under the Electric Power Competition Act of 1996 (H.R. 2929), a new bill to amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) introduced by Rep. Edward J.

California Retains Affirmative Action Targets

Phillip S. Cross

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has decided not to increase voluntary goals for utility purchases from businesses owned by minorities and by women. The CPUC has also amended its rules on affirmative-action purchasing plans to state that "no penalty shall be imposed for failure of any utility to meet and/or exceed goals."

In 1988, the CPUC had set a goal that utilities must seek to purchase 20 percent of their goods and services from firms listed in the state-mandated program: 15 percent from minority firms and 5 percent from firms owned by women.

Competition, Convergence...and Cashflow?

BY VINOD K. DAR


COMPETITION, CONVERGENCE ... AND CASHFLOW? THE POWER BUSINESS IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS

APRIL 01, 1996

BY VINOD K. DAR

Pages