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Fortnightly Magazine - December 1996

Wooing Wall Street: Choosing Between a Spinoff or Targeted Stock for that New Unregulated Subsidiary.Richard H. Pettway and Judith Johnson

Richard H. Pettway, and Judith Johnson

AT&T and U S WEST scored points with investors, but PacTel's AirTouch deal failed to move the market.ell before the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was signed, it had become abundantly clear to telephone companies that they would need to change their organizational or corporate structures to keep pace with the changing business and regulatory climate.

The question, however, was how to make that structural change pay off on Wall Street (em how to use the reorganizati

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

Storm Damage Costs. Hawaii rejects proposal by electric utility for statewide surcharge to recover hurricane damage costs. Says that "regulatory compact" requires utility to quickly repair damage and restore service to consumers in return for recovery of all prudently incurred costs. Dkt. No. 94-0097, Aug. 7, 1996.

Gas-supply Incentives. Missouri increases LDC's rates by $9.5 million.

Utilities Shut Out of Third-quarter Stock Upswing

Utilities Shut Out of Third-quarter Stock Upswing

Utility stocks treaded water during the third quarter, while most stocks nationally took flight. This lackluster quarterly performance in the utilities sector proved most prevalent in the Public Utilities Stock Index. The box score: Our index fell 43.96 points, or 1.11 percent, to conclude the three-month period at 3908.43.

In stark contrast, the Dow Jones Industrial Average powered itself 227.54 points higher, or 4.02 percent, en route to a record high of 5882.17.

N.H. Announces Restructuring Proposal

Phillip S. Cross

As directed by the state legislature, the New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has issued a preliminary plan to restructure the state's electric industry.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

It was the week before Thanksgiving. On the train ride home (I live in downtown Washington, DC, in an old, sprawling apartment building that once claimed Huey Long and Richard Nixon as tenants), my attention was drawn to a frazzled female lawyer sitting in the seat next to me, who was feverishly making notes in the margins of a thick, serious-looking, legal-sized document.

I confess. I like to read over people's shoulders, but often lose interest after the first few words. This case was different, though.

Utility NGV Programs Lose Anti-trust Exemption

Phillip S. Cross

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that natural gas local distribution companies (LDCs) in California are no longer immune from antitrust actions caused by their activities in the natural gas vehicle (NGV) industry. The decision clears the way for a federal district court to hear a complaint lodged against Southern California Gas, a local distribution company (LDC), by two California corporations engaged in the NGV refueling business.

People

John L. Carter was elected to Tucson Electric Power Co.'s board of directors. He replaces J. Burgess Winter, who resigned. Carter recently retired as executive v.p. and CFO of Burr-Brown Corp.

Madison Gas and Electric Co. promoted Terry A. Hanson to v.p. and treasurer. Hanson, who joined the company in 1981, had been treasurer.

Connecticut Natural Gas Corp. promoted two executives and hired a third.

LDC Allows Retail Chain to Aggregate Facilities

Phillip S. Cross

The Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) has authorized Michigan Consolidated Gas Co., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to enter into a special contract permitting KMart Corp. to aggregate its warehouse with its retail locations to qualify for transportation service at all sites.

Mailbag

Un-American Activities

I would like to comment on Joseph Paquette's letter ("Stranded-cost Recovery: It's Constitutional," Mailbag, Oct. 1, 1996) responding to Charles Studness (Stranded-cost Recovery: It's Un-American," Financial News, July 15, 1996, p. 43).

Mr. Paquette suggests that denying recovery of stranded costs amounts to an unconstitutional taking of private property.

Wisconsin Issues ISO Rules

Phillip S. Cross

Finding an independent system operator (ISO) prerequisite to electric industry restructuring, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) has issued a detailed set of "minimum standards" for developing and operating an ISO.

The PSC says that the ISO must function independently of generators and must operate the transmission system to protect consumers and sellers of power from anticompetitive use of the wires. In addition, the ultimate responsibility for safety and reliability must be vested in one entity at all times.

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