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Fortnightly Magazine - September 15 1996

PJM to Go for ISO

Lori A. Burkhart

Nine of the 10 electric utility members (excluding PECO Energy Co.) of the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) Interconnection have filed agreements and transmission tariffs at the FERC, seeking to replace the pool with a competitive power pool that would set a next-hour spot wholesale power price (to vary by location), but also allow bilateral trading.

The majority proposal would set up an independent system operator (ISO). The tariff would support poolwide open access and comparable transmission service.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

On January 1, 1998, California will "deregulate" the state's electric utilities. The Western Power Exchange (WEPEX) and the independent system operator (ISO) will start up, creating an open market for wholesale power.

Elizabeth A.

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

DSM: Gas vs. Electric. Plan is approved for City of Tallahassee municipal electric and gas utility to use demand-side management to cut electric demand and use (predominantely during winter peak) through low-interest loans for natural gas equipment, even though plan will not pass RIM (rate impact measure) test. Docket Nos. 930559 et al. Order No. PSC-96-0716-FOF-EG, May 28, 1996 (Fla.P.S.C.).

Foreign Acquisitions.

People

Vera B. Claussen has been elected the first female president in the American Public Power Association's 56-year history. Claussen is commissioner of Public Utility District Number Two of Grant County in Euphrata, WA. Other new APPA officers include president-elect Thaine J. Michie, g.m., Platte River Power Authority, Fort Collins, CO; and vice president Walter R. McGrath, g.m., Braintree, MA, Electric Light Department.

The United States Energy Association has three new officers: P.J.

States Differ on Residential Gas "Subsidy"

Phillip S. Cross

In two recent natural gas rate cases, regulators have split over the question of alleged rate subsidies in favor of residential customers.

In the first, the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a proposal by Providence Gas Corp., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to redesign its rates to remedy "the ongoing subsidization of the residential class by commercial and industrial customers."

In Minnesota, however, the state PUC rejected a similar plan by Minnegasco to use an embedded-cost allocation method to shift the revenue bu

Mailbag

ADFITs: Not a Phantom

In his article, "Phantom Taxes: The Big Payback" (Courts and Commissions, 7/1/96, p. 41), David Wise argues that utility recovery of stranded facility costs should be reduced by the balance of accumulated deferred income taxes (ADFIT) attributable to stranded costs.

Long-distance Rates Must Track Access Charges

Phillip S. Cross

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has upheld an earlier ruling (issued May 2) that required interexchange carriers (IXCs), on a dollar-for-dollar basis, to reduce rates for basic intrastate message telephone service (MTS) so as to flow through to MTS customers certain reductions in local telephone access charges.

It denied requests by the IXCs to share the rate reductions with all switched-access customers, rather than target the rate cuts to basic toll services only.

Joules

XENERGY, Inc., an energy services company, began supplying power to 13 companies in midsummer as part of Massachusetts Electric Co.'s restructuring plan. The companies belong to the Massachusetts High Technology Council. XENERGY will supply 40 Mw of power per year. Projected annual savings to the companies run about $2.2 million, or 14 percent, a drop of 2¢/Kwh. The wholesaler is NYSEG Bulk Power Sales Group; Mass. Electric will provide customer and distribution service. A residential pilot is scheduled to begin January 1.

Rules Issued for Electric Rate Discounts

Phillip S. Cross

In a case involving San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has OK'd new guidelines for preapproved contracts designed to obtain, attract, or retain new electric customers. The guidelines also apply to contracts designed to stem self-generation or avoid customer flight out of state.

The CPUC also will allow SDG&E to negotiate a rate discount contract with any customer, for any purpose, as long as shareholders absorb 100 percent of revenue losses and rates reflect a price floor based on customer-specific marginal cost.

NARUC Loses an Exec, Makes Some Resolutions

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

One of the most influential organizations in utility regulation is seeking a new executive after its director of more than 30 years resigned in the midst of strategic planning that could change the group's future.

Paul Rodgers, executive director and general counsel for the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC), made his July 25 resignation effective August 9. He was given two year's pay as severance.

Charles D. Gray, assistant general counsel, has taken over as acting general counsel.

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