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Fortnightly Magazine - May 1 1996

Why My Tariff is Different Than Yours: Comparing Nonprice Terms in Utility Filings Against FERC's Pro Forma Tariffs

Kevin Porter

Comparing Nonprice Terms in Utility

Filings Against FERC's Pro Forma Tariffs

AS ONE MIGHT EXPECT, THE VARIATIONS REFLECT THE HISTORIC TENSION BETWEEN NATIVE LOAD AND WHOLESALE TRANSACTIONS.

Columbia Gas System Expands into New Era

Lori A. Burkhart

Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. and Columbia Gulf Transmission Co., the interstate natural gas pipeline subsidiaries of The Columbia Gas System, Inc., have a new chief executive officer (CEO), Catherine Good Abbott, as well as plans for an ambitious expansion. The project and the CEO mark the beginning of a new era for a once-troubled pipeline system that recently emerged from bankruptcy.

Off Peak

Will deregulation spell the end of utility philanthropy? Not necessarily so, according to a new study

of charitable giving at 11 investor-owned electric utilities from across the country.

Of those companies surveyed, one pegged its charitable contributions budget as a percent of revenue. Some indicated that they

followed the "utility average" of giving 0.5 percent of income before taxes. (The national average for all companies is 0.9 percent.) Four utilities reported donations at or above that figure.

Revenue Caps or Price Caps? Robust Competition Later Means Healthy Choices New

Kenneth W. Costello

The debate over restructuring the electric industry has encompassed a revisiting of the traditional rate-of-return (ROR) pricing model. Parties of widely divergent interests increasingly advocate alternatives. Under the label "performance-based regulation," these new pricing models share the objective of strengthening incentives for electric utilities incentives to pursue some specified "socially desirable" outcome.

FERC Modifies Offshore Pipeline Policies

Lori A. Burkhart

A new policy at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) makes water depth a factor in deciding whether an offshore facility is primarily a gatherer rather than a transporter of natural gas (Docket No. RM96-5-000). The Natural Gas Act (NGA) requires the FERC to regulate transportation and wholesale transactions, but exempts gathering and production. Under the new policy, a facility that operates in depths of 200 meters or more will be considered a gatherer. The FERC hopes to encourage exploration and development of deep water reserves on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

Purchased Power Contracts: Marrying Production and Financial Efficiencies

Gary W. Dorris and Timothy Mount

Electric utilities incur indirect financial costs when they turn to unregulated generators (NUGs) to buy power. These indirect costs can lead to lower bond ratings and undermine competitive advantage, depending upon the type of contract.

In this case we analyzed the combined effects of NUG power purchases on generating and capital costs for a representative utility (Utility A) with a relatively large amount of NUG purchased power.

FERC Scrutinizes Hydro Preference Sales

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has set for hearing a complaint by the Municipal Electric Utilities Association of New York (MEUA) against one of its members (the Town of Massena) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA). The complaint alleges that NYPA improperly agreed to sell low-cost hydroelectric power to an industrial customer, violating the Niagara Redevelopment Act as well as a FERC license assigning statutory preference to municipal utilities (Docket No.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

A few weeks ago I picked up a copy of one of those law firm newsletters, this one published quarterly by Reid & Priest, titled the Utility Telecommunications Advisor.

Mojave Cancels Troubled Northward Expansion

Lori A. Burkhart

Although the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a December 1995 order (Docket No. CP93-258-007) giving Mojave Pipeline Co. a green light to expand into California, the planned Northward Expansion Facilities have been tabled. The reason: A three-year delay caused by jurisdictional disputes between the FERC and the California Public Utilities Commission, as well as problems involving the FERC's contract-demand reduction policy, caused Mojave to lose its projected customer base.

People

Lori A. Burkhart

A Moody's report, Legal Disaggregation Threatens Bondholder Security, warns that bondholders (em previously secured by a blanket lien on substantially all of a utility's property (em may find themselves secured solely by generating assets, whose real market value may be less than the outstanding secured debt. Moody's identifies 14 companies that may spin off transmission and distribution (T&D) assets, retaining generating assets because of indenture restrictions.

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