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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - April 15 1998

Electrica del Norte Limitada. Interamerican Power and Light Corp. remains the majority owner of the $46-million project. Construction on the project is about 50 percent complete.

Edison International shareholders can access their accounts through the company's home page,

Arizona Electric Power Cooperative and Salt River Project signed a memorandum of understanding to help the two electric utilities work together in Mexico. The utilities will examine the transmission access to Mexico and strategies to serve customer loads in Mexico once the Comision Federal de Electricidad opens the industry to privatization. The companies also will consider joint projects and programs to create increased business opportunities between SRP and AEPCO and Mexico.

State PUCs

MASSACHUSETTS CHOICE. The Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy issued terms and conditions covering offerings by electric distribution companies to retail customers, competitive suppliers and other utilities under competition. The DTE set out rules for distribution and default generation services for customers who choose a new supplier as well as standard-offer generation services to those customers who remain on the system. The rules also cover aggregation requirements, customer usage information, and customer authorization rules. Distribution utilities may propose tariffs that vary from the guidelines on a "strong showing" of special company-specific circumstances. The DTE ruled that meter ownership should remain with the distribution companies pending resolution of technical issues of allowing customers or their competitive suppliers to control metering decisions. It said that installation of advanced metering equipment was crucial to the development of full competition. D.P.U./D.T.E. 97-65, Dec. 31, 1997 (Mass.D.T.E.).

MAINE DIVESTITURE. The Maine Public Utilities Commission approved a plan proposed by Central Maine Power Co. to divest its generation assets. The company has completed two rounds of bidding and has agreed to sell its hydro power, fossil and biomass business units to Florida Power and Light. The commission said that the company's decision to bundle its generation assets and to use a staged bidding process could enhance the value of the generation assets, but that the process also raised market power concerns, which the utility must address at future sale approval proceedings. Docket No. 97-523, Order (Part II), Jan. 14, 1998 (Me.P.U.C.).

On Feb. 9, Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. filed its generation plant divestiture plan with the Maine PUC. The utility will offer 166 megawatts of generation assets at seven projects with a book value of $40 million. It includes interests in eight hydroelectric projects, with 44 MW of installed capacity qualifying as renewable under the restructuring law.

CUSTOMER EDUCATION. The Maine PUC adopted rules for

consumer education efforts designed to inform electric users about retail access opportunities scheduled to open on March 1, 2000, to be funded through an assessment against the revenues recovered from ratepayers by electric transmission and distribution utilities. The rule allows utilities to recover costs for responding to consumer requests for information, but not for nonconforming education efforts launched by utilities on their own initiative. Docket No. 97-583, Jan. 30, 1998 (Me.P.U.C.).

DISTRIBUTION REGULATION. The Oregon Public Utility Commission adopted a draft of a distribution-only form of regulation for Pacific Power and