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Fortnightly Magazine - August 1997

Looking Back on SO2 Trading: What's Good for the Environment Is Good for the Market

Joseph Kruger, and Melanie Dean

The overwhelming impression is one of growth (em in volume and in the number of participants.

The early 1990s was an anxious period for advocates of emissions trading. Concerns about whether the sulfur dioxide allowance market would ever develop tempered the heady success of the first national emissions trading program implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990, Title IV. These concerns were heightened when in May 1992, Wisconsin Power & Light traded 10,000 allowances to the Tennessee Valley Authority.

FERC Praises "Pony Express"

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved a request by KN Energy Inc. to convert its 900-mile Pony Express Pipeline from oil to natural gas (Docket No. CP96-477-000). The pipeline was expected to begin operating in August, carrying natural gas from several points in the Rocky Mountains to Kansas City.

Through a separate regulatory authority, subsidiary KN Interstate will construct a 36-mile Riverside lateral to the Kansas City market. The FERC approved rolled-in rate treatment for the pipeline.

The project garnered praise from the FERC.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

The PJM Interconnection is what they call a "tight" power pool. As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has explained, tight power pools "extensively coordinate" their planning and operations, with central dispatch of generating plants. This coordination builds reliability--one of the long-term benefits, says the FERC, of a tight power pool.

Coordination also builds market power, however. And, as we all know from FERC Order 888, market power in transmission stands as "the single greatest impediment" to electricity competition.

PJM Restructuring Battle Continues

Lori A. Burkhart

Nine members of the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Power Pool filed a revised plan at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to establish an independent system operator for the Mid-Atlantic power market.

The utilities have been battling with lone dissenter PECO Energy over the details of the ISO.

The nine utilities, dubbed the "supporting companies," agree on the form that an ISO should take. In November 1996, the FERC had rejected ISO proposals by both parties as having failed to comply with Order 888.

People

The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners has elected Susan F. Clark, commissioner of the Florida Public Service Commission, as its representative on the North American Electric Reliability Council. Clark has served as Florida's commissioner since 1991. Commissioner of the North Carolina Utilities Commission, Allyson K. Duncan, also was elected to serve as a NARUC representative. Duncan will represent NARUC on the advisory council to the board of directors of EPRI.

Tony A. Prophet, former new business development v.p.

FERC to use GDP to Estimate Equity Return

Lori A. Burkhart

Through two orders issued on June 11, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has set policy on return on equity for interstate natural gas pipelines (em specifically, the component of long-term dividend growth in the discounted cash flow model.

In both cases, the FERC applied the long-run growth rate of the economy, as measured by the U.S. gross domestic product. (See, Re Northwest Pipeline Corp. Opinion No. 396-B, Docket Nos. RP93-5-025 and RP93-96-005; Re Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Co., Docket Nos.

Joules

MCN Investment Corp. and Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. plan to build a $45-million liquified natural gas plant near the Delaware-Maryland border. The project, named Continental States Peaking Services L.L.C., would liquify, store and vaporize gas beginning in early 2000. It would connect to the Eastern Shore Natural Gas pipeline system, with access to the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line and Columbia Gas Transmission system.

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

Overseas Investment. Michigan certifies plan by Consumers Electric and Gas Co. to bid on the outstanding equity of three electric distribution companies being privatized in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Case No. U-11331, April 14, 1997 (Mi.P.S.C.).

Appliance Repair Rates. New Jersey OKs rates for Public Service Electric and Gas Co.

PacifiCorp To Acquire The Energy Group for $9.6 Billion

Lori A. Burkhart

PacifiCorp has made a cash offer for The Energy Group PLC, a diversified energy company in the U.K., Australia, and U.S. The boards of directors of both companies unanimously approved the transaction, valued at $9.6 billion in debt and equity.

PacifiCorp Holdings Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of PacifiCorp, is offering $11.35 per share for The Energy Group. PacifiCorp will assume The Energy Group's $3.8 billion of debt in the transaction.

Michigan to Review Rate Discounts, Effect on Direct Access

Phillip S. Cross

Having issued a comprehensive decision on electric utility restructuring on June 5, the Michigan Public Service Commission nevertheless must yet decide what to do about electric utilities that offer contracts to individual customers with off-the-tariff rate discounts.

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