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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 1998

for low-income assistance, but chose to wait until "important tax issues" are resolved before deciding how to administer the funds. The PUC plans to set up an interim plan for administering the funds. Decision 97-09-117, r.94-04-031, i.94-04-032, Sept. 24, 1997 (Cal.P.U.C.).

Power Marketers. The Michigan commission awarded a

certificate of public convenience and necessity authorizing power marketer Nordic Electric LLC to sell unbundled generation services in the electric service territory of Consumers Energy Co. The commission issued Nordic a "blanket certificate" allowing the marketer to serve the newly signed customers and any others in the same cities or municipalities. Nordic is precluded, however, from constructing its own transmission and distribution facilities to serve the customers under the new certificate. Re Nordic Electric LLC., Case No. u-11130, Oct. 20, 1997 (Mi.P.S.C.).

Direct-Access Programs. The Oregon PUC ruled that PacifiCorp must follow existing tariff filing regulations if it chooses to participate as a seller in a direct-access pilot program. It added, however, that the utility may file a tariff that describes the general terms and conditions of its participation but omits detailed pricing information, much like existing special contract offerings for larger customers. The commission said it would review whether the individual rates awarded by the utility under a direct-access program generate revenues sufficient to cover costs and to protect other customers from unfair increases. Order No. 97-408, Oct. 17, 1997 (Ore.P.U.C.).

Demand-Sidemanagement. The New Hampshire PUC allowed EnergyNorth Natural Gas Inc. to continue offering residential customers demand-side management services for an additional year pending a review of the broader issue of utility-sponsored DSM programs in the gas market. The DSM program includes a package of domestic hot water measures, heating system rebates, energy audits, attic insulation installations and setback clock thermostats. It also includes new cost-measurement requirements to deal with "free-riders" and to employ updated avoided-cost estimates. Order No. 22,731, Sept. 23, 1997 (N.H.P.U.C.).

Local Telco Competition. The Indiana commission approved

a permanent resale tariff for Ameritech Indiana, the state's largest local exchange carrier, that will allow competing carriers to purchase local exchange services at a 21-percent discount from existing retail charges. It had approved the discount earlier in an interim decision without a formal tariff authorizing the LEC to offer the resale services. The latest ruling permits newly certified competitors to begin providing service to residential and commercial customers. The commission also has directed GTE North Inc., another LEC, to file an interim resale tariff for review. Case No. 39983, Oct. 15, 1997 (Ind.U.R.C.).

FERC

Transmission Restraints. Wisconsin Public Power Inc. filed two complaints with the Commission against investor-owned utilities Wisconsin Power and Light and Wisconsin Public Service for allegedly denying it access to electric transmission lines, thereby preventing WPPI from importing electricity into eastern Wisconsin. WPPI had requested a three-year contract for firm transmission service to import 42 megawatts of electricity from a coal-fired generating plant in Grand Rapids, Minn., in which WPPI holds a 20-percent interest. The IOUs said they reserved most of the capacity on the lines for themselves as allowed under federal rules allowing allocation on a first-come,