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.
costs are recovered by each utility.
The commission said that although PG&E's request to close several rate schedules to new customers was based on a desire to avoid rate increases, the changes would violate the rate-freeze mandate. It said the schedules offered by the company would result in higher costs for some customers. Application Nos. 94-12-005, Decision 97-12-044, Dec. 3, 1997 (Cal.P.U.C.).
NEW YORK RESTRUCTURING. The New York Public Service Commission approved an electric restructuring plan for Rochester Gas and Electric Corp., moving the date for full retail access to July 1, 2001, but rejected added rate cuts for larger customers. The commission said these customers "already receive substantial benefits" under the restructuring agreement. Case 96-e-0898, Nov. 26, 1997 (N.Y.P.S.C.).
The PSC also approved a restructuring plan for Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc., which would trim rates by about $1.2 billion. Larger customers will receive an immediate 25-percent rate cut; all others get 10-percent reductions phased-in over the next five years. A limited retail access program will begin June 1, with full access by the end of 2001. The plan also includes a $5-million fund to encourage small customers to participate in the program. The utility will divest at least 50 percent of its in-city fossil fuel generating capacity by the end of 2002. Case No. 96-e-0897, Nov. 3, 1997 (N.Y.P.S.C.).
METERING SERVICES. The California Public Utilities Commission revised its interim rules for metering services in a competitive electric market, barring direct access customers from choosing their own meter provider, and instead assigning metering either to a certified energy service company or the regulated utility distribution company. Both types of companies are free, however, to contract with third-party meter service providers for the actual metering services. The limitation is required to prevent "potentially disastrous meter installations" and to ensure compliance with meter standards and with direct access tariffs, the commission said. r.94-04-031, i.94-04-032, Decision 97-12-048, Dec. 3, 1997 (Cal.P.U.C.).
A Permanent Standards Working Group will continue to review and develop national standards to replace metering standards enforced by utilities. (See, "California Metering Rules: An Interview with ORA Engineer Anthony Mazy," Feb. 1, 1998, p. 40.)
STRANDED COSTS. The California Public Utilities Commission has defined non-nuclear costs eligible for transition cost recovery under its electric restructuring plan and also has set the net book value of various generation assets owned by the state's major electric utilities (em the first step in determining which assets are uneconomic (whether book value exceeds market valuation), and thus in providing for recovery of stranded costs under current policy. Application Nos. 96-08-001 et al., Decision 97-11-074, Nov. 19, 1997 (Cal.P.U.C.).
GAS RESERVATION FEES. The New Mexico Public Utility Commission has authorized PNM Gas Services to recover through its gas cost adjustment clause reservation fees it must pay suppliers when it does not take expected volumes under existing contracts. The commission found that ratepayers had benefitted when the utility chose to pay the reservation fee and to purchase needed supplies at lower cost. It said that recovery of such charges on a case-by-case basis was sound policy