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Fortnightly Magazine - October 15 1996

Mergers and Market Power: Should Antitrust Rule?

Robert J. Michaels

By Robert J. Michaels

The Justice Department's Guidelines don't tell us very much about

today's (or tomorrow's) electric market.

However many electric utilities remain after this merger wave, competition will be forever changed.

PJM Pool Moves Forward

Lori A. Burkhart

PECO Energy Co. has filed its "Open Market Plan" at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for restructuring the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland (PJM) power pool. PECO is the only member not joining a majority PJM restructuring order filed July 24 with the FERC.

The plan proposes an independent system operator (ISO) and electric transmission service priced on a regional, postage-stamp basis. The wholesale market would be based on bilateral transactions, with a residual pool for hourly energy.

Court Oks PUC Review of "Sham Transaction" Claim

Phillip S. Cross

The Ohio Supreme Court has cleared the way for state regulators to review a complaint by Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. that American Electric Power (AEP), a utility holding company, used one of its electric generating subsidiaries, Ohio Power Co., as a "straw man" to circumvent the state's utility service territory laws and serve one of its retail customers.

Deregulation and Mergers: Is Consolidation Inevitable?

Richard D. Cudahy

Antitrust is not another form of regulation. Antitrust

is an alternative to regulation

and, where feasible, a better alternative.

(em Stephen G. Breyer,

"Antitrust, Deregulation, and the Newly Liberated Marketplace,"

75 Calif. Law Rev. 1005, 1007 (1987).

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

Gas Competition. Indiana finds that competition in the gas industry has "not directly benefitted" residential and small commercial customers, in first annual report to legislature on energy policy. July 1, 1996 (Ind.U.R.C.).

Gas DSM. Idaho cites declining need for demand-side management in light of new appliance efficiency standards. Tells Intermountain Gas Co. to end water heater rebates. Case No. INT-G-96-4, Order No. 26546, Aug. 1, 1996 (Idaho P.U.C.).

Gas Price Forecasts.

Maine Finds Electric Price Cap Unnecessary

Phillip S. Cross

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has decided to forgo a formal price-cap plan for Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. (BHE), an electric utility, finding that traditional regulation would better maintain the proper balance of shareholder and ratepayer interests. The PUC had approved a price-cap mechanism for Central Maine Power Co., another of the state's investor-owned electric utilities (see, Re Central Maine Power Co. 159 PUR4th 209 (Me.P.U.C.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

One thing that adds some fun to my job (notice, I did not say that my job is fun) is the chance to compare similarities between the gas and electric markets.

California Backs Loans for WPEX Software

Phillip S. Cross

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has authorized Pacific Gas and Electric Co., Southern California Edison Co., and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. to guarantee notes totaling $250 million for loans to two trust funds to support the development of computer hardware and software for the state's proposed independent system operator (ISO) and power exchange (WEPEX), but commissioner Jesse J. Knight has dissented, worrying about cost control.

As noted in a parallel story ("PUC Loans Would Bolster ISO, Power Exchange," Headlines, p.

Utility Abandons Standby Generation Control Pilot

Phillip S. Cross

The Virginia State Corporation Commission has authorized Virginia Electric and Power Co. to suspend a pilot program for its Standby Generation Control System. (For prior ruling approving the program, see Re Virginia Electric Power Co., 162 PUR4th 363 (Va.S.C.C. 1995).)

The approved pilot authorized the utility to install control equipment on a mixture of customer- and utility-owned generators. Virginia Power would then operate the control system to provide extra generation during peak.

People

Christopher M. Coburn and Charles William Burton were confirmed by the U.S. Senate as directors of the U.S. Enrichment Corp. Both will serve five-year terms. Coburn is v.p. of the Technology Partnership Practice for Battelle Memorial Institute. Burton, an attorney, is of counsel to Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue.

Northern Indiana Public Service Co. promoted Dorothy M. Hawkins to information technology director. Kennan J. Walsh, senior rate specialist, was promoted to senior (electric) regulatory specialist. Gregory A.

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