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Fortnightly Magazine - October 1 1996

Maine to Examine "Energy-Related" Distribution Services

Phillip S. Cross

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has opened a docket to investigate how and to what extent it should regulate "energy-related products and services other than electric service" offered by Central Maine Power Co.

In lieu of price regulation, the utility had proposed setting prices to cover its marginal cost for

specific offerings, including: 1) inspection and maintenance of customer-owned substation facilities, 2) energy control systems and services, 3) construction of customer-owned pole lines, and 4) maintenance and repair of customer-owned lighting equ

Natural Gas Combo to Serve One Million

Lori A. Burkhart

Atmos Energy Corp. and United Cities Gas Co. have announced an agreement to merge in a share-for-share exchange of common stock.

Atmos distributes natural gas to about 673,000 customers through its operating subsidiaries, Energas Co., Greeley Gas Co., Trans Louisiana Gas Co., and Western Kentucky Gas Co. United Cities distributes gas to about 310,000 customers, operates gas storage facilities, and distributes propane to 25,000 customers.

Ohio Repeats Warning to Centerior

Phillip S. Cross

The Ohio Public Utilities Commission has reaffirmed its "recommendation" (issued April 11 in a rate case order) that Toledo Edison Co. and Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. (subsidiaries of Centerior Energy Corp.) should write down $1.25 billion in assets over the next five years to avoid the danger of even greater commission-mandated cost disallowances.

The PUC rejected arguments that it should have ordered the write-down directly.

Converging Markets: The First Real Electric/Gas Merger

Charles M. Studness

Converging Markets:

The First REAL Electric/Gas MergerEnron's bid

to acquire Portland General heralds a new phase

in utility competition.

Why the Holding Company Act doesn't matter.

By Charles M. Studness

The merger agreement between Enron and Portland General Corp. has reshuffled the electric restructuring deck. It makes electric utilities takeover targets for outside suitors after 60 years of peaceful immunity.

Fitch Evaluates NY's Electric Future

Lori A. Burkhart

Citing the ongoing Competitive Opportunities Proceeding as well as recent public statements by New York Public Service Commission (PSC) chairman John O'Mara, Fitch Investors' Service predicts that New York will aggressively approach electric industry restructuring.

Fitch believes electric utility bondholders could be adversely affected by PSC policies that order less than full stranded-cost compensation, establish penalties to force disaggregation, or provide bailouts that transform weak companies into strong competitors.

Florida Rejects Electric Discount Plan

Phillip S. Cross

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has rejected a proposal by Gulf Power Co. to offer negotiated contracts to large, "at-risk" customers that would otherwise leave the system to find power from another source.

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