That was the question on the minds of representatives from local telephone exchange carriers (LECs) who huddled at the United States Telephone Association (USTA) National Issues...
"I think the Commission had it correct when it said experience has shown that it is cumbersome, introduces delay, introduces uncertainty."
The final word on capacity release: What should stay the same,
or change, or be addressed that isn't?
Edwards: "I think the proposed pilot program as an option should be eliminated. I think the Commission basically has current regulations on its books that require cost-based rates. The pilot program would allow a pipeline to come in, with its local distribution company, by August 30 (em which is not even time for the Commission to act on any rehearing requests under this new proposed policy (em and implement [capacity release] on an experimental basis. And I think that's illegal.
"It's also bad policy. And what's particularly egregious about that potential is that the Commission, in its NOPR, says it will not
have to make as strong a market-showing analysis or lack-of-market-power analysis than it would otherwise. . . . They're weakening the standards."
Reid: "In the interest of doing commercial transactions, the one thing that should be modified are the disclosure requirements. I think those requirements should be between the buyer and the seller. And they're free to negotiate what they need to negotiate.
"Currently, at least in the pilot program that the FERC wants to see, there's a great deal of information about buyers and sellers and volume and prices. Maybe that's appropriate in the pilot program, but I don't think over the long term it's appropriate."
Marston: "It is certainly a good thing that the Commission has decided to reexamine the whole topic. There's a couple of years' experience under capacity release, and I think the Commission has something to work from rather than flying blind. . . . What the Commission has yet to grasp is the extent to which capacity is being reshuffled." t
Joseph F. Schuler, Jr. is associate editor of PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY.
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