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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - January 15 1998

25, 1997, 81 F.E.R.C. ¶ 61,257.

GRI FUNDING. The Commission approved the 1998 budget for the Gas Research Institute, while referring a proposed settlement to an administrative law judge that would continue GRI's current funding through 2002, and then set up a voluntary funding mechanism for so-called "core" R&D. Docket Nos. rp97-149-002 et al., Nov. 12, 1997.

GAS BUSINESS PRACTICES. The FERC has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking and statement of policy governing standards for business practices and electronic communications between interstate natural gas pipelines, incorporating the most recent versions of standards declared by the Gas Industry Standards Board. The FERC added proposed rules not developed by GISB governing intra-day nominations, operational balancing agreements, netting and trading of imbalances, standardization of communications and notices of operational flows. Order No. 587-f, Docket No. rm96-1-007, Nov. 12, 1997.

MARKET-BASED RATES. The Commission allowed Hydro-Quebec to sell electricity at market-based rates in the U.S. through an operating subsidiary, H.Q. Energy Services, Inc., after finding special factors that it said would offset the applicant's failure to prove a lack of market power in generation, as indicated by market shares ranging from 27 to 35 percent of installed capacity and from 31 to 38 percent of uncommitted capacity in 13 U.S. markets. The FERC said Hydro-Quebec was already selling power at the U.S.-Canadian border at rates not subject to FERC jurisdiction. Docket No. er97-851-001.

Business Wire

THE New York Mercantile Exchange and the International

Petroleum Exchange, have announced an agreement to develop an advanced electronic trading system jointly to serve the oil, natural gas, electricity and coal industries. The system will be based on the IPE's Energy Trading System as the core platform, incorporating the functions of the NYMEX ACCESS system.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts and AllEnergy Marketing Co. have formed an energy purchasing cooperative. The focus is on providing natural gas and energy management services to companies in Bay State Gas Co.'s territory.

City Public Service awarded the Bentley and NetSpace project team a contract for an integrated automated mapping/facilities management and geographic information system.

Mexico's Comisión Reguladora de Energiá awarded a natural gas transportation permit to Energiá Mayakan S. De R.L. de C.V. that allows Mayakan to build and operate a natural gas pipeline, providing natural gas transportation for 30 years. The 700-kilometer pipeline is worth about $260 million. The project, sponsored by TransCanada Pipelines Ltd. via TransCanada International, begins construction in early 1998.

Mincom Inc. with Coopers & Lybrand LLP's Utility Industry Consulting Group signed a contract to provide complete operations, materials and financial management software systems to Hawaiian Electric Company Inc. Mincom will provide all application software, while Coopers & Lybrand will manage implementation and installation.

State PUCs

ELECTRIC CHOICE PLANS. The staff of the Mississippi commission has called for state legislation in 1999 to allow unbundled electric rates for all customers on Jan. 1, 2000, and retail competition by Jan. 1, 2001. The plan would apply to Mississippi's two IOUs, Entergy-Mississippi and Mississippi Power Co., as well as other companies electing to participate. Each would separate into three separate entities: an