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Fortnightly Magazine - November 1 1997

Frontlines

Bruc W. Radford

THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS," SO THE ADS SAY.

But what about a hostile bailout? I wouldn't have believed it myself until the news arrived, forcing me to rewrite this column at press time.

Imagine: Enron offering to reimburse PECO Energy for $5.4 billion in stranded costs, while taking on the role as the electricity provider of last resort for southeast Pennsylvania.

No doubt you have already read a half-dozen news stories about Enron's play for PECO. The details should sound familiar; the Philly papers were filled with lively quotes. On Oct.

California PBR Plan to Yield Savings

Phillip S. Cross

The California Public Utilities Commission approved a performance-based ratemaking plan for Southern California Gas Co. that could yield substantial savings, which the company is required to share with customers.

The PUC said the proposed merger of the utility's parent, Pacific Enterprises, and Enova Corp., parent company of San Diego Gas & Electric Co., should improve efficiency and benefit ratepayers.

People

AT Washington Water Power, Bobby Schmidt was appointed director of the company, and Paul A. Redmond announced his retirement as chair and CEO. Redmond started with the company in 1965. Previously, Schmidt worked as an independent trader in Chicago.

MDU Resources Group Inc. has promoted Martin A. White from senior vice president, corporate development to president and CEO. White, who has been with the company since 1991, will replace retiring president H.J. Mellen Jr.

Robert L. Goocher was promoted to president of AGL Resources Service Co. from executive vice president and COO.

LDCs Examine Hedging to Stabilize Gas Costs

Phillip S. Cross

Expressing concern about price volatility in the natural gas market, New Jersey, Virginia and Michigan regulators have directed local gas distribution companies to try fixed-price contracts and other hedging instruments. This would allay risk in wholesale gas supply portfolios and protect residential ratepayers from price swings common in the winter heating season, regulators said.

The growing popularity of fixed-price and other financial instruments to hedge against price spikes follows two winters of volatility noticed by regulators nationwide.

New Jersey.

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