Washington State Studies Electric Competition
Meeting its Dec. 31 deadline, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission delivered to the state legislature its "Electricity...
MAINE YANKEE PRUDENCE. The Maine Public Utilities
Commission will investigate the prudence of Maine Yankee Atomic Power Co.'s decision to close its nuclear plant permanently.
The PUC said Oct. 22 that unrecovered investment in Maine Yankee combined with the loss in plant value could cause additional stranded assets for plant owners Central Maine Power Co., Bangor Hydro-Electric Co., and Maine Public Service Co. If imprudent action is found, the PUC said it would take steps to ensure that Maine's electric ratepayers do not bear any related costs. The investigation is expected to conclude in mid-1998.
A PUC-ordered management audit of Maine Yankee in September found that $95 million of the costs from January 1994 through June 1997 were imprudent.
ENTERGY COMPETITION PLAN. The Texas Public Utility Com-
mission has directed Entergy Gulf States Inc. to use an outside mediator to resolve issues concerning its transition to competition plan and rate requests filed with the PUC.
According to PUC Chairman Pat Wood, mediation will provide one last chance to settle the case, after a failed attempt in September 1997.
Entergy had asked to reconcile and recover fuel costs, set revised fuel factors and establish new base rates, increasing revenue from fuel and purchase power by $14 million. It also wants a surcharge to recover $41.4 million it believes was not recovered on fuel expenses, and a rate increase of $19.6 million.
Entergy's plan, filed Nov. 27, 1996, promises full retail competition in 2004.
WATER UTILITY MERGERS. The California Public Utilities
Commission has invited comments on its proposal to change its rules and guidelines for water utility mergers and acquisitions.
The PUC wants to provide incentives for mergers and acquisitions that benefit ratepayers. It seeks comments consistent with new legislation setting fair market value as the standard for assessing reasonableness of the acquisition price. The PUC said it usually supports the acquisition of small, troubled water companies by larger ones to solve the former's financial and water quality problems.
CONSUMER FINANCE CHARGES. Watchdog group The
Utility Reform Network has filed a lawsuit to compel the California Public Utilities Commission to require utilities to disclose the finance charges that each California resident must pay starting Jan. 1.
"Under the current commission decision, California's consumers get better information from used car dealers than they will get from their electric utilities," said TURN Executive Director Nettie Hoge.
Residential and small commercial customers will pay a fixed transition charge of 1 to 2 cents per kilowatt, or about $7.60 a month. The charge pays principle and interest for securitization of stranded costs and will last for 10 years.
According to TURN, the PUC will only require disclosure of the FTA on monthly electric bills "if practicable."
L.A. CUTS JOBS, RATES. The Los Angeles Department of Water
and Power said it would slash debt and lay off workers, but might be able to eke out a rate cut for residential customers under its new plan to remain competitive.
The DWP, the nation's largest municipal utility, announced its restructuring plan Oct. 29.
The city has guaranteed no rate