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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - February 15 1998

mechanism for Wisconsin Gas Co. It will tie recovery of commodity costs, supplier reliability premiums, storage costs pipeline capacity costs and risk management costs to observed performance against commodity price indices drawn from the publication Inside FERC and other operational indicators such as expected injection volumes for storage. Docket No. 6650-gr-113, Oct. 30, 1997 (Wi.P.S.C.).

BABY BELL LONG DISTANCE. The Washington commission issued a policy statement on tests that U S WEST Communications Inc. must pass to qualify to offer competitive interLATA long-distance service under the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. It will examine approved interconnection arrangements between the U S WEST and competitors in local markets to ensure local access service is adequate and a significant level of competition exists. Docket No. ut-970300, Oct. 24, 1997 (Wash.U.T.C.).

ELECTRIC HOLDING COMPANY. The Arizona Corporation Commission allowed Tucson Electric Power Co. to form a holding company, UniSource Energy. Commissioners approved a financing application that allows TEP to replace the credit agreement resulting from a 1991 bankruptcy court action and to refinance $184 million in bonds. Nov. 19, 1997 (Ariz.C.C.).

UNIVERSAL TELEPHONE SERVICE. The New Jersey board has

adopted a definition of universal service for the telecommunications industry. The definition includes: a white pages listings, voice-grade access to the public network; the ability to place and receive calls; touch-tone or dual-tone multifrequency signaling or its equivalent; single-party service; access to emergency, operator and inter-exchange services; and access to directory assistance. The board said that further study was needed to set the appropriate level of local usage to include in the definition. It also ruled that carriers receiving universal support for lifeline service are prohibited from disconnecting customers for nonpayment of toll charges. Docket No. tx95120631, Oct. 29, 1997 (N.J.B.P.U.).

BABY BELL LONG DISTANCE. The Florida PSC found that Bell

South Telecommunications Inc. has met only some of the requirements necessary to enter the interLATA long-distance market under the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. It found that newly certified competitive carriers were serving about 27,000 business subscriber access lines in the state, but that Bell South had failed to submit sufficient evidence of competitive local service. It said Bell South was having problems fulfilling requests from new market entrants and meeting other requirements set up by the Federal Communications Commission. Docket No. 960786-tl, Order No. psc-97-1459-fof-tl, Nov. 19, 1997 (Fla.P.S.C.).

CABLE TV SUBSIDY. The Massachusetts Department of Tele-

communications and Energy has opened an investigation into whether Boston Edison Co. improperly subsidized a cable television and telecommunications venture, Residential Communications Network, through an unregulated subsidiary, The Boston Energy Technology Group, by investing more money than authorized, or for lines of business not previously approved. (D.P.U. 97-95).

Boston Edison, through its affiliate, Boston Energy Technology Group, is involved in a joint venture with RCN to provide cable and telecom services in Massachusetts, and has granted access to RCN to fiber-optic network lines, rights of way and customer lists. In 1993 the department had granted authority to Boston Edison to invest $45 million in Boston Energy Technology Group only for three purposes: demand-side management, electric vehicles and