Capture and sequestration will help ensure the future of coal-fired power plants. Demonstration projects are allowing utilities to kick the tires on the latest technologies, and to learn how CCS...
MICHIGAN CHOICE APPEAL. Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley filed an appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals of the Michigan PSC's Jan. 14 rehearing order (News Digest, March 15, 1998, p. 18) adopting a phase-in schedule for electric restructuring and retail choice for Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison. Kelley alleged that the order fails to create a competitive generation market or foster lower rates. He called it an "outrage," that gave the utilities everything they wanted. Case Nos. u-11290 et al., Feb. 13, 1998 (Mich.P.S.C.).
NEW HAMPSHIRE RESTRUCTURING. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has affirmed lower court rulings denying intervention to six ratepayer parties in a federal suit challenging New Hampshire's electric restructuring plan. It rejected attempts by the parties to establish their interest in the case based on claims that if the plan were overturned, they would lose an opportunity for lower rates. The court found that "every electric consumer in the state yearns for lower rates" and that the claim has an "overly contingent quality" in that it is based on an interaction of market variables the outcome of which is "anybody's guess." Public Service Co. of N.H. v. Patch, Nos. 97-1759 et al., 1998 wl 32503, Feb. 3, 1997 (1st Cir.).
TELCO ACCESS CHARGES. A Georgia appeals court ruled that state regulators erred when they used sales growth as an offset to determine how much to compensate local exchange telephone carriers for bringing intrastate access charges in line with interstate rates. The court said that state law required that LECs receive compensation for revenues lost during the phase-down to achieve parity with interstate rates, but that nothing in state statutes indicated that growth in access revenues should be calculated as an offset. Ga. PSC v. Alltel Georgia Communications Corp., No. a97a1997, Feb. 12, 1998 (Ga.App.).
PUC ARBITRATIONS. A U.S. district court refused to interfere in a dispute between Ohio regulators and a local exchange carrier regarding arbitration of interconnection negotiations between GTE North, the local carrier and Sprint Communications Co., which was seeking entry into the local market, saying the case was not ripe for review pending a final order by the Ohio Public Utilities Commission. GTE appealed after the PUC allowed Sprint to modify an interconnection agreement it had reached with GTE under PUC-sponsored arbitration. GTE claimed the commission had failed to protect its interests in the case. GTE North Inc., v. Glazer, Case No. 5:97 cv 0554, Jan. 14, 1998 (E.D.Ohio).
GAS TRANSPORTATION. The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld a 1995 ruling by the Michigan Public Service Commission that had allowed Consumers Power Co. to discount gas transportation rates to keep one of its largest customers, James River Corp., on its system, if the utility would accept the risk of a revenue shortfall. It denied the utility's appeal that the full allocation to shareholders of any revenue loss marked an unconstitutional taking of its property, saying the discount was the utility's choice, not mandated by the PSC. Consumers Power Co. v. Mich. PSC, No. 184218, u-10651, 1997 wl 643431, Oct. 15, 1997 (Mich.App.).