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Fortnightly Magazine - July 1 1996

Munis See the Lite

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

The search for cheaper electricity is in full swing, from the East Coast to the West.

Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. of Pearl River, NY, proposes that 1,500 residential customers, along with industrial and commercial businesses, be allowed to pick their electric power supplier. The proposal, called "PowerPick," has been endorsed by New York Public Service Commission staff, the Industrial Energy Users Association, and the state Consumer Protection Board.

LECs Get Price Caps; IXCs Told to Reduce Rates

Phillip S. Cross

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has approved price-cap regulation plans for four major telecommunications local exchange carriers (LECs) in the state: BellSouth Telecommunications Inc. (BellSouth), Carolina Telephone and Telegraph Co. (Carolina), Central Telephone Co. (Central), and GTE South, Inc. (GTE). The NCUC rejected allegations by AT&T Communications of the Southern States, Inc., an interexchange carrier (IXC), that a separate "general rate case" was needed to gauge how the shift to price regulation affected LEC earnings.

Study Calls Muni Trend "Traditional"

Lori A. Burkhart

Coopers & Lybrand has released its 1996 Electric Municipalization Review, which examines the two municipalizations completed since the Energy Policy Act of 1992: Broken Bow, OK, and Bozrah, CT.

Broken Bow, which began operating in 1995, serves the new six-megawatt (Mw) load of one industrial customer and owns no electric facilities; Public Service Co. of Oklahoma serves town residents. The Town of Bozrah had been served by a privately held corporation, Bozrah Light & Power (BL&P), whose owner was retiring and wanted to sell.

N.C. Denies Self-generation Exemption

Phillip S. Cross

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has rejected a request by proponents of a plan to provide electricity and process steam for a large industrial electric user in the state for a declaration that the plan would not subject the participants to regulation as public utilities under state law.

Under the proposal, National Spinning Co., Inc., a current purchaser of over $3 million in annual industrial electric services from Carolina Power & Light Co., would build facilities to gasify wood waste, produce steam, and generate up to seven megawatts of electricity in partn

Prudential Predicts Revenue Losses for All Utilities

Lori A. Burkhart

In a recent report, A Free Market for Power Would Mean Revenue Losses for All Utilities (em But Some Would Suffer More Than Others, Prudential Securities simulated a competitive electricity market (em assuming that all industrial and commercial customers would be able to choose their electric supplier by 1998 (em to find out how a completely free market for power would affect utility revenues, earnings, and dividends.

The competitive risk study statistically measured marginal costs, then created a simulated spot-market electricity price for each of the 11 geographical reg

N.Y. Relaxes Regulation of AT&T

Phillip S. Cross

Finding the state's long-distance telecommunications market sufficiently competitive, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has relaxed price controls for AT&T Communications of New York, Inc., an interexchange carrier (IXC) currently regulated as a dominant provider of long-distance services. Under the settlement agreement, AT&T will freeze price floors and ceilings for basic long-distance service (message toll service, or "MTS") for five years and give customers a one-time rate reduction to reflect lower access charges AT&T must pay to local exchange carriers in the state.

Competing Bids Filed for Cajun

Lori A. Burkhart

Ralph Mabey, trustee for Cajun Electric Power Co-op. in its bankruptcy proceeding, has filed a reorganization plan at the Federal District Court in Baton Rouge, LA. Mabey chose a bid from NRG Energy, Inc. and Zeigler Coal Holding Co.: about $1.1 billion in cash to purchase most of Cajun's nonnuclear assets. However, that offer faces a competing bid filed by the Cajun Electric Members Committee, Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SEP), and Gulf States Utilities.

QF Fails to Raise Avoided Cost Rates

Phillip S. Cross

The West Virginia Public Service Commission (PSC) has ruled that it is preempted by federal law from modifying the avoided-cost rate in a purchased-power agreement implemented under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA).

The developers of a qualifying cogeneration facility (QF), Bituminous Power Partners, L.P., had asked the PSC to raise the contract rate for avoided energy in its purchased-power contract with Monongahela Power Co.

Moody's: NiMo Bankruptcy Possible

Lori A. Burkhart

Moody's Investors Service downgraded the long-term credit ratings of Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. (NiMo) on April 25, citing the utility's "limited progress" in achieving the goals set forth in its "PowerChoice" proposal, among other concerns.

Virginia Rejects IntraLATA Competition

Phillip S. Cross

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) has rejected a request from Bell Atlantic-Virginia, Inc., a telecommunications local exchange carrier (LEC), to reclassify intraLATA message toll service (MTS) as competitive under its new alternative regulation plan.

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