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Fortnightly Magazine - November 1 1996

Mailbag

Green Pricing Premium: Less than it Seems

I disagree with the idea that green-pricing programs with the lowest premiums prove the most popular with residential utility customers, as suggested by the article, "Green Pricing: The Bigger Picture" (Byrnes et al., August 1996, p. 18). And, to the extent that that notion comes from information presented about the SolarCurrents program at Detroit Edison (DE), which I manage, I offer some points in rebuttal.

First, the number of participants may prove misleading.

Large Users Benefit from PGA Reforms

Phillip S. Cross

The North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) has directed Northern States Power Co., a local distribution company (LDC), to eliminate three "nongas" cost components from its purchased-gas adjustment (PGA) clause: 1) gas transportation credits, 2) recovery of costs associated with certain interconnection facilities, and 3) tax credits resulting from the 1986 Tax Reform Act.

Joules

The Education/Electric Buying Group, which represents Long Island public schools, has asked the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) to separately consider its proposal for a competitive electric pilot program. The program calls for electricity purchased at the best price, rather than just through the Long Island Lighting Co. The buying group claims that LILCO has refused requests to discuss the proposal. The school districts estimate they could save $20 million annually in electricity costs without substantially affecting LILCO's net earnings.

Mass. Refines LDC Margin-sharing Plan

Phillip S. Cross

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has clarified an earlier ruling on sharing revenues that local distribution companies (LDCs) receive from certain interruptible services and capacity-release transactions. In that ruling, the DPU had established that LDCs could retain 25 percent of margins above a designated threshold. Re Interruptible Transportation/Capacity Release, D.P.U. 93-141-A , Feb.

N.J. Gas Pilot Aims for Residential Customers

Lori A. Burkhart

Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSE&G) has asked the New Jersey BPU to approve a pilot program, SelectGas, that would allow residential natural gas customers in four municipalities to purchase gas from suppliers other than PSE&G. The pilot would run until June 1, 1998. PSE&G's commercial and industrial customers have had choice since December 1994; over 8,000 now participate.

The new service would not require an alternate fuel capability or additional metering, and includes provisions for emergency sales service and offpeak service.

Off Peak

Arizona would wager on electric competition, hedge its bet with a solar portfolio.Looking for a new way to promote renewable energy?

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.

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