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Fortnightly Magazine - November 1 1996

Cajun Nuclear Assets Go to RUS

Lori A. Burkhart

U.S. District Judge Prank Polozola has settled 22 lawsuits involving bankrupt Cajun Electric Power Co-op. and Gulf States Utilities over the River Bend nuclear plant. The settlement turns Cajun's 30-percent share of River Bend over to the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), which holds liens on most of Cajun's assets.

The settlement gives RUS three options: 1) seek a buyer for River Bend, 2) take title in its own name, or 3) give Cajun's 30-percent interest to Entergy Gulf States.

ERCOT Turns into Nation's First ISO

Lori A. Burkhart

The Texas PUC has approved a plan creating the nation's first independent system operator (ISO) from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). The ISO will be governed by an 18-member board, with three members each from IOUs, municipal utilities, electric co-ops and river authorities, transmission-dependent utilities, IPPs, and power marketers.

A key part of the ISO plan is an electronic transmission information network (ETIN), which ensures equal access to transmission system information, such as available transmission capacity, product offerings, and prices.

Marketing & Competing

Barry D. Weiss and Phillip Palmer McGuigan

The decision to buy, build, and/or sell information technology assets carries many pitfalls, especially for a regulated utility.

The ULTRA Competition: Honoring Leaders in Information Technology

NIPSCO wins top prize for customer information

system deemed state-of-the-art.

Runner-up Brooklyn Union melds Internet

technology with internal systems.To borrow a phrase, only three things matter in energy competition: technology, technology, and technology.

An exaggeration, perhaps, but not too far off for the three-dozen-plus electric and gas utilities that submitted applications for the 1996 Utility Leadership Award for Information Technology (em ULTRA for short.

Sponsored by PUBLIC

Financial News

Charles M. Studness

In the race toward competition, will outside investments break their poor track record?

The current rash of utility investments outside of the core franchise businesses appears to follow a pattern: a new spree of diversification every decade. Diversification was the rage in the early 1970s before the energy crisis, and revived during the mid-1980s when huge construction programs wound down. It has now reemerged as the threat of competition curtails traditional investment opportunities.

Competition at the Meter: Lessons From the U.K.

Chris S. King

Competition

at the Meter: Lessons

From the U.K.Metering lies at the heart of electric competition, but may work best as a "natural" monopoly controlled by the distribution utility.Metering represents one of the more complex issues in retail electric competition (em one that suffers from major misperceptions.

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

LDC Certificates. North Carolina assigns currently unfranchised natural gas service territories. Awards certificates of public convenience and necessity. Docket No. G-100, Sub 69, Aug. 16, 1996 (N.C.U.C. 1996).

Externality Benefits. Utility should not include "net social benefits" when calculating shareholder incentive award. Docket No. G-011/M-95-1372, Aug. 1, 1996 (Minn.P.U.C.).

Area Code Shortage.

Competition, Confusion, and Chaos: The Metering Muddle

Alex Henney

With no system in place to collect data, retail choice brought gridlock to England and Wales in 1994.

Ohio High Court Rules on City's Muni Plan

Phillip S. Cross

The Ohio Supreme Court has concluded its review of the municipalization dispute between Toledo Edison Co., an electric utility, and the City of Clyde. The court said that a city ordinance passed on January 17, 1995, seeking to force the utility to stop providing service within municipal boundaries, violated state law in attempting to accomplish the municipalization of Toledo Edison's facilities without the approval of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission (PUC).

OASIS: Networking on the Grid

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Despite a recent delay, the stage

appears set for online trading

in electric transmission capacity.

THIS IS ONLY A TEST (EM FOR NOW.

But come January, if all goes well, the OASIS program will start up in real time, with customers venturing onto the Internet to place reservations for capacity on the nation's electric transmission grid.

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