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Fortnightly Magazine - August 1997

Michigan City Still Disputing Stranded Costs

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has moved closer to deciding the stranded cost dispute between Consumers Energy and the city of Alma, Mich., which intends to construct its own municipal electric system.

On Sept. 10, the FERC set for hearing two stranded cost issues: (1) whether Consumers Energy has met the "reasonable expectation" standard justifying stranded cost recovery from Alma; and (2) if so, what amount the utility may recover. (See, Docket No. sc97-4-000.)

Consumers Energy wants $56.1 million in stranded cost payments from Alma.

Virginia to Examine VEPCO's Rates, Earnings

Phillip S. Cross

The Virginia State Corporation Commission has announced it will conduct a broad-based investigation into current earnings and rate structures of Virginia Electric and Power Co. in light of changes under way in the electric market. The commission's staff had found, as part of an annual earnings review, that the utility "is clearly in an overearnings position."

The staff observed that the company may have "potentially large levels of stranded costs" because of uneconomic power contracts with nonutility generators.

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