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Fortnightly Magazine - October 15 1996

Amended Cajun Plan Lowers Rates

Lori A. Burkhart

Ralph R. Mabey, trustee in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings of Cajun Electric Power Co-op., has entered into an amended asset-purchase agreement with Louisiana Generating LLC for the purchase of Cajun's nonnuclear assets. Louisiana Generating LLC is the joint-venture affiliate of NRG Energy, Inc. and Zeigler Coal Holding Co.

The NRG/Zeigler bid was selected in April, but on July 15, the bankruptcy court rejected the plan's buyer-protection provisions.

Telco Business Services Ruled Noncompetitive

Phillip S. Cross

An Illinois appeals court has upheld a ruling by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) that certain services offered to business customers by Illinois Bell Telephone Co. are noncompetitive.

The local exchange carrier (LEC) had reclassified the services (distance-sensitive calls, credit card calls, and operator assistance) as competitive to take advantage of pricing flexibility permitted under the ICC's regulatory reforms for the industry.

Telephone Rate Plans Said to Frustrate Competition

Lori A. Burkhart

The Office of the Ohio Consumers' Counsel has gone on record at the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC) as opposing any application by Cincinnati Bell Telephone Co. to amend its present alternative regulation plan to set rates using a price cap tied to the consumer price index, and to deaverage rates.

The Consumers' Counsel claims that the amendment must be considered as a new plan due to the substantive changes it proposes. It adds that, if enacted, the changes would impose rate hikes and discourage consumer choice for local calling.

Oregon Unbundles LEC Rates

Phillip S. Cross

The Oregon Public Utility Commission (PUC) has unbundled services offered by the state's major local exchange carriers (LECs) into a series of network building blocks, pricing the new service offerings in conformance with policies adopted in earlier cases. The ruling retains statewide average rates for local exchange service across all density and distance categories.

The PUC also required the LECs, U S WEST Communications, Inc. and GTE Northwest, Inc., to impute the price they charge to other carriers for basic network functions when setting their own prices.

Perspective

Stanley W. Hulett

In August, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued rules to show how new competitors can enter the local markets for telecommunications (em forever relegating local telephone monopolies to that switchboard in the sky.

Vehicle Refueling Stations Still Not Exempt

Phillip S. Cross

While permitting Southern California Gas Co. and San Diego Gas and Electric Co.

Marketing & Competing

James R. Pierobon and Adam Findeisen

There's more to meeting marketing challenges than first meets the eye.

Imagine you've just taken over as chief executive officer (CEO) of a $1-billion gas utility in a major metropolitan market.

LEC's Anti-slamming Program Draws Fire

Phillip S. Cross

The Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) has directed Ameritech Michigan, a telecommunications local exchange carrier (LEC) to discontinue its advertising campaign for a special program billed as a protection against "slamming" (em i.e., switching a customer's long-distance service without their knowledge or consent.

A Round Robin of Residential Unbundling

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Whether you're a utility commissioner in Wyoming or Georgia, a v.p. for a leading marketer, or a commission division director in New Jersey, you share a common activity: learning by the seat of your pants about deregulating gas markets. In this gas forum, PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY highlights developments across the nation.

Bureaucrats, Pols Spar on DOE's Future

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Sec. O'Leary says "strategic alignment" is trimming the budget;

GAO remains unsure whether Department is "truly committed."

Department of Energy (DOE) officials and like-minded politicians joined to defend the agency against Senate and House bills that would dismantle the department (em and its $17-billion annual price tag.

On September 4, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources conducted hearings on S. 1678, The Department of Energy Abolishment Act.

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