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Fortnightly Magazine - November 1 1996

Marketer Attacks Utility's Retail Pilot Program

Lori A. Burkhart

Independent electric marketer Wheeled Electric Power Co. (WEP) has filed a petition at the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), alleging that anticompetitive practices by Central Illinois Light Co.

California Market Attracts Aggregator

Lori A. Burkhart

With its new agreement with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), power aggregator New Energy Ventures, Inc. (NEV) stands poised to enter California's retail market with the advent of competition.

NEV has agreed to purchase 200 megawatts (Mw) of surplus electricity from BPA for five years beginning January 1, 1998, with an option for an additional 200 Mw of surplus firm power for five years from the time the option is exercised. NEV also will purchase seasonal economy power, which sells for less than 1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

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.

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