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Electric Restructuring Across the Country

Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 1997

scheduled end of the legislative session in mid-May.


Although the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission has not done much since it issued generic principles in 1995, it has approved specific utility pilot programs or tariffs for two utilities. In March 1997, for example, the UTC approved an experimental direct-access pilot for 1 percent of Washington Water Power's residential and commercial customers; a similar experiment was approved for the utility's larger customers last year. Although there is unlikely to be consensus on a restructuring timeline before the end of the scheduled session in late April, there has been significant legislative activity this year. Several bills (H.B. 1652, S.B. 5639 and S.B. 6006) proposed allowing retail choice for all customers by no later than July 1999. A task force to study and develop recommendations for restructuring was proposed in H.B. 2232.


The Louisiana PSC began reviewing competition issues in June 1996 (Docket

U-21453). In response to a seven-year restructuring plan filed by Entergy, the PSC ruled in March that issues involving deregulation must be considered in the rulemaking docket. The PSC is expected to begin hearings on restructuring issues soon. Several bills were introduced in the House at the beginning of the regular session in late March. One group of bills (H.B. 1405 and H.B. 1654) proposes authorizing the PSC to set up a pilot program and repealing prohibition of electric utility competition. Several specific deregulation bills (H.B. 1524, H.B. 2061 and H.B. 2200) propose introducing retail choice by either 1999 or 2001.


While the Arkansas PSC has not initiated any formal restructuring activities to date, there has been some limited activity on the legislative front. "Study" resolutions (S.C.R. 24 and H.R. 1026) were introduced and adopted in both the House and Senate during March 1. t

Attorney Kenneth M. Simon leads the electric power practice of Dickstein, Shapiro, Morin & Oshinky, LLP, in Washington, D.C.


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