Prometheus paid dearly when he stole fire from the gods and gave it to man, but his courage paid off. Fire now belongs to the people. So should electricity, says New York state Judge Joseph Harris...
administrator for SBC funds, which will be collected by the utilities over the next three years. Case 98009/94e0952, Feb. 2, 1998 (N.Y.P.S.C.).
ELECTRIC RESTRUCTURING PLANS. The New York PSC has
approved a five-year modified rate and restructuring plan for New York State Electric and Gas Corp., which allows all customers to choose their supplier of electricity by Aug. 1, 1999, and provides for overall customer savings of $725 million. Chairman John F. O'Mara noted that the plan implements "one of the most aggressive timetables for customer choice." Rates for large industrial customers and high load-factor customers will be reduced by 5 percent annually. Residential and small commercial customer rates will be frozen at present levels for the first four years of the plan, with a 5 percent reduction taking effect in the fifth year. Case 98005/96e0891, Jan. 27, 1998 (N.Y.P.S.C.).
RETAIL CHOICE. Following approval from the New York PSC,
Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc. on Feb. 3 revealed details of its retail choice program, to begin June 1 for about 63,000 customers. At that time, 500 megawatts of electricity will become subject to retail competition, with choice phased-in for all customers by year-end 2001. Each customer who chooses a supplier other than ConEdison will receive two bills: one for delivery of the electricity from ConEdison, and the other for the commodity sold by energy service companies. Starting in February, ConEdison bills will contain a "retail choice shopping credit," which will show how much customers can save if they purchase electricity from another supplier. The utility will pay a one-time, $50 incentive to residential and religious rate class customers, and $75 to small nonresidential customers to encourage participation in retail choice programs.
Mergers & Acquisitions
RATEPAYER BENEFITS. The New Jersey Board of Public Utili-
ties approved the merger of Atlantic City Electric Co., and Delmarva Power and Light Co. to form a new company, Conectiv Inc. The board rejected calls for the application of stricter standards when reviewing such cases. Consumer advocates had alleged that the board should switch from a "no harm test" in reviewing merger and reorganization applications to a test that requires a showing of a "positive benefit" to ratepayers. The board said that it had used the stricter test in only two cases in recent history, and that one involved a hostile takeover bid. It went on to find that the merger would save ratepayers $15.75 million annually and that voluntary labor force reductions would limit the effects of merger-related layoffs. Docket No. em97020103, Jan. 7, 1998 (N.J.B.P.U.).
CANADIAN GAS SERVICES. The boards of directors of Trans-
Canada PipeLines Ltd. and NOVA Corp. on Jan. 26 agreed to merge the companies to create the fourth largest energy services company in North America. The new company will hold $16 billion in revenues and $21 billion in assets. NOVA shareholders will exchange each NOVA share for 0.52 TransCanada shares, and then the new company will be divided into separate energy and chemicals businesses. The companies believe that the merger will allow them to offer low-cost flexible services from the