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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - April 15 1998

Light Co. that includes: (1) a cap for distribution revenues; (2) performance measures for increased service quality; (3) a revenue-sharing mechanism for excess earnings; (4) a non-bypassable system benefits charge and (5) a renewable resource incentive to allow recovery of energy efficiency and "sustainable energy" investments. The electric utility may review the plan and notify the PUC whether it will accept its terms. Draft Order, Jan. 15, 1998 (Ore.P.U.C.).

AFFILIATE OVERSIGHT. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission has authorized Idaho Power Co. to form a holding company and to transfer non-utility subsidiaries and operations to the new corporate entity. Idaho Power agreed to guarantee the commission access to the books records officials and staff of all proposed subsidiaries as well as reports of transactions between the utility and its affiliates. Case No. ipc-e-97-11, Order No. 27348, Jan. 29, 1998 (Idaho P.U.C.).

EXCESS WATER CAPACITY. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission authorized Indiana-American Water Co. to increase rates by 9.6 percent despite claims that the utility had overbuilt its filter plants for future needs. It rejected a proposal by the state utility consumer advocate to disallow certain facility costs as excess capacity. The advocate pointed to a new formula that would allow inclusion of construction costs in rate base only to the extent that the plant's rated maximum capacity is projected to satisfy a maximum day demand during the rate effective period. The commission said that proposal would not support adequate planning for safe and reliable service. Case No. 40703, Dec. 11, 1997 (Ind.U.R.C.).

FUEL COST RECOVERY. The Hawaii Public Utilities Commission approved fuel oil supply arrangements between Hawaiian Electric Co. and its supplier, Chevron Products Co., but questioned the need for the utility to use its energy cost adjustment clause to recover associated costs. Considering the long-term nature of the supply arrangements and the stability of fuel prices, the commission opened a generic investigation into the utility's continued use of the clause. Docket No. 97-0397, Decision & Order No. 16141, Dec. 30, 1997 (Haw.P.U.C.).

TELCO RESALE DISCOUNTS. The Michigan Public Service Commission reduced the discount Ameritech Michigan must offer competitive resellers of its services. It lowered the approved discount rate for offerings without directory assistance and operator service from 25.96 percent to 21.55 percent. It agreed with the carrier that it had double-counted operator systems and call completion and number service expenses in its prior ruling on the matter. The established discount of 19.96 percent for resellers that use Ameritech's operator services remains unchanged. Case No. u-11280, Jan 28, 1998 (Mich.P.S.C.).

ECONOMY SALES. The Florida Public Service Commission

issued a generic order governing costs and revenues associated with economy energy transactions by electric utilities. It said that since the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had required the utilities to unbundle transmission and ancillary charges from economy energy sales, the state's utilities had implemented varying pricing and cost recovery methods for the treatment of "broker sales" for retail rate-making. The rules were designed to maintain the same level of ratepayer benefits as before implementation. Docket No. 980001-ei, Order No. psc-98-0073-fof-ei, Jan. 31, 1998 (Fla.P.S.C.).