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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 1998

or prejudice the carrier's price cap rate plan. Docket No. 97-049-08, Dec. 4, 1997 (Utah P.S.C.).

WESTERN WATER SHORTAGES. Closing a water service complaint case dating to 1991, the California Public Utilities Commission rejected a settlement offer and directed Citizens Utilities Co. of California to follow a much-debated master plan to add supply for a growing service area by maximizing production from existing wells and adding treatment and storage facilities. The PUC found little reason to expect to find new supply sources and found desalinization too costly. Citing what it called the "paralysis of compromise decision-making," the PUC noted that six years of negotiations and hearings had produced little progress in rehabilitating the troubled water system. Application 91-11-010, Decision 97-12-097, Dec. 16, 1997 (Cal.P.U.C.).

WATER UTILITY POLICIES. The Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control has identified administrative and legislative action needed to improve the quality of water service. It suggested an information program to facilitate mergers of small water companies, plus simplified forms for rate applications. It will investigate a surcharge to cover fixed costs and depreciation expense to replace aging distribution mains. Report to General Assembly in Accordance With Public Act 96-153, Jan. 28, 1998 (Conn.D.P.U.C.).

GAS MARKETING AFFILIATES. The Massachusetts Department

of Telecommunications and Energy has directed Boston Gas Co. to flow through to ratepayers all profits from city-gate sales contracts it had transferred to a new gas marketing affiliate under a plan to "exit the merchant function." The department found the transfer of contracts anticompetitive and antithetical to state policy. D.P.U./D.T.E. 96-66, Dec. 12, 1997 (Mass.D.T.E.).

GAS RATE CLASS SUBSIDIES. The New York Public Service Commission has directed St. Lawrence Gas Co. Inc., to shift costs away from larger industrial users and toward the residential and small customer classes through a redesign of load balancing charges and changes in cost allocation in its adjustment clause. Case No. 97-g-0409, Opinion No. 98-2, Jan. 22, 1998 (N.Y.P.S.C.).

RETAIL GAS SUPPLIERS. The Georgia Public Service Commission set rules for certification of new unregulated natural gas marketers under the state's new gas deregulation law, requiring applicants to prove the financial and technical capability to serve customers reliably. It reserved authority to revoke certification for unfair practices. Docket No. 8044-u, Dec. 30, 1997 (Ga.P.S.C.).

GAS RETAIL CHOICE. The Kentucky Public Service Commission released a draft proposal for legislation on customer choice and rate and service unbundling in the natural gas market, but has not yet decided whether to seek introduction of a bill during the 1998 legislative session. Admin. Case No. 367, Jan 9, 1998 (Ky.P.S.C.).

News Digest is compiled by Lori A. Burkhart and Phillip S. Cross, contributing legal editors, and by Beth Lewis, editorial assistant.

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