Wyoming and Montana
are cracking Midwest coal markets,
despite local protectionism.
As pressures build steadily toward deregulation and increased competition between...
ELECTRIC RETAIL PRICES. The Energy Information Administration has released a new report finding that the average retail price of electricity has declined for the third year in a row and remained stable for the first nine months of 1997. According to Electric Sales and Revenue 1996, average residential electric prices declined slightly in 1996, the first drop for that consumer class since the EIA began collecting data in 1984. Overall average prices of electricity were down nearly 0.5 percent nationwide between the end of 1996 and 1997, while industrial prices were down more than 1 percent. In California, residential prices dropped by 2.4 percent in 1996. The EIA believes three reasons account for the lower prices: falling fuel prices; decreasing labor costs; and lower interest rates on money borrowed. The report is available online at www.eia.doe.gov.
LONG-DISTANCE REVENUE. The Federal Communications Commission released a staff report, Long Distance Market Shares, which shows that as of the third quarter of 1997, 83 percent of long-distance revenues went to the four largest long distance carriers: AT&T, MCI, Sprint and WorldCom. The report can be downloaded from the FCC-State Link Internet site at www.fcc.gov/ccb/stats.
NUCLEAR WATCH LIST. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has released its revised watch list of 13 nuclear power plants that warrant increased attention. Illinois Power Co.'s Clinton plant was the only plant added to the list; Maine Yankee Atomic Power Co.'s plant, which is being shut down, was the only plant removed from the list.
NUCLEAR WASTE DISPOSAL. As expected, the Department of Energy did not meet its Jan. 31 deadline to begin storage of high-level nuclear waste, as required by a federal court. Under the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982, a permanent waste repository was to have been completed by 1998. But DOE has said that the likely repository at Yucca Mountain, Nevada, will not be ready until 2015 at the earliest. Electric ratepayers so far have paid about $14 billion into the Nuclear Waste Fund. Because the federal government now has defaulted on the deadline, DOE ultimately could be liable for as much as $56 billion in damages, and as much as $24 billion more for replacement power costs. Senator Frank H. Murkowski blasted DOE's failure to meet the deadline: "It's blatantly hypocritical and intellectually dishonest for the Administration to complain about carbon emissions and global warming while¼ putting our largest source of carbon-free energy at risk."
NITROGEN OXIDE EMISSIONS (em AUCTIONS. ISO New England will conduct the first multi-state auction of nitrogen-oxide emission reduction credits. ISO-NE members will purchase the credits to offset increases in NOx emissions generated last summer. The rise in emissions stemmed from the operation of certain power plants to avoid electricity capacity shortfalls in New England. The credits will apply to the "ozone season," May through September, and can come from anywhere in New England.
NITROGEN-OXIDE EMISSIONS (em EPA REVIEW. Many concerns were raised at a recent hearing over nitrogen-oxide state implementation plans proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Mark Gray, manager of Environmental Services for American Electric