AMID WORRIES THAT RESIDENTIAL CONSUMERS MAY NOT benefit from competition comes a study that shows at least one industry will: metering. This market is expected to grow an average of 5 percent per...
Georgia Governor Signs Gas Law
Georgia Gov. Zell Miller has signed into law the "Natural Gas Competition and Deregulation Act," which unbundles natural gas services and opens residential gas markets to competition.
Under S.B. 215, in less than three years Atlanta Gas Light Co. and its affiliates, Georgia Natural Gas and Savannah Gas Co., no longer will sell natural gas directly to end users. Instead the companies only will provide delivery service.
According to Fitch Investors Service, the law will benefit fixed-income investors of Atlanta Gas Light in the long term, because it mitigates risk by:
• Significantly limiting financial exposure to load variations by collection of volume insensitive straight fixed-variable rates for firm distribution capacity (about 70 percent of rate recoveries are volume based);
• Passing its obligations to serve onto marketers;
• Releasing upstream pipeline and storage capacity under contract to marketers at full rates, eliminating potential stranded costs; and
• Supporting future system expansion from a universal service fund.
Fitch also pointed out that Atlanta Gas Light's ability to profit from balancing, capacity release, off-system sales and interruptible services should be enhanced. The interruptible market is expected to be vibrant since marketers will be economically encouraging to lower unit costs by maximizing gas volumes delivered through the Atlanta Gas Light system. Also, marketing rules of S.B. 215 do not discriminate against affiliated companies.
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