Nuclear Plant Fines. The Nuclear Regulatory Commis-
sion has proposed fines totaling $2.1 million against Northeast Nuclear Energy Co. for many violations at the company's Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford, Conn. The fine marks the largest civil penalty ever proposed by the NRC. Northeast Utilities said it will pay the fine, which it called "a necessary and important step toward bringing to closure a very disappointing and difficult chapter in the company's history." The utility said it will not pass the cost onto ratepayers.
Electric Futures. The New York Mercantile Exchange has
submitted to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission three electric futures and options contracts based on delivery in the eastern United States. The three delivery sites are: the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland transmission system, the Cinergy transmission system (Ohio); and the Entergy transmission system (Louisiana).
Power Pools & Reliability
ISO Proposal. Eleven investor-owned electric utilities on
Dec. 9, 1997 agreed to explore creation of an independent system operator. Participating utilities are: Consumers Energy, Detroit Edison, Duquesne Light Co., The Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co., Ohio Edison, Pennsylvania Power, Toledo Edison, Virginia Power and the Allegheny Power Companies. The companies serve 26 million customers in Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia. They own 30,000 miles of transmission lines, representing an investment of about $6 billion. The group has hired National Grid Co., to help participants find common ground on issues such as governance and pricing.
Transmission Systems. The Western Systems Coordinating Council on Dec. 10 decided to move forward with a proposed WSCC Reliability Management System: a set of mandatory electric transmission system operating rules applied equally to all market participants and administered nondiscriminatorily as the industry is restructured. It includes sanctions for noncompliance.
Customer Exit Fees. The Oklahoma Supreme Court struck down an Oklahoma Corporation Commission rule fixing how much money a new utility supplier must pay the old supplier when a customer exits its system. The commission's Rule 60 required that the new supplier pay the replaced utility an exit fee equal to three years of that customer's electric costs, and the acquiring utility must purchase all equipment needed to supply that customer. Public Service Co. of Okla. v. Okla. et al., No. 89,340, Nov. 25, 1997, 1997 wl 728109 (Okla.).
Canadian Natural Gas Piplines. North Atlantic Pipeline
Partners was unable to convince the Federal Courts of Canada to force the National Energy Board to consider its plan to build an undersea pipeline. North Atlantic also lost its fight against a recommendation by a federal-provincial panel to allow a rival company, Maritimes & Northeast, to build a similar pipeline to deliver natural gas to New England and Atlantic Canada.
Studies & Reports
Municipal Credit Ratings. In a new report, Moody's
Investors Service said electric deregulation may have long-term negative credit-rating implications for some municipalities, counties, school districts and almost 30 states. In Electric Industry Deregulation Puts Negative Pressure on Credit Ratings of Some Local Municipal Bond Issuers, Moody's focused on power plant closings, utility property tax appeals, reductions in general fund transfers, and changes in local and state