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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - May 1 1998

its internal needs to allow it to sell more than net output (defined as QF plant capacity minus power to run the station), the FERC will treat the QF as having purchased and resold the auxiliary power from the utility, thus violating the condition that a QF must be engaged primarily in selling power from qualifying facilities.

Acknowledging ambiguities in its regulations (em the "simultaneous buy-sell" rule, at 18 CFR sec. 292.303(a)-(b), appeared to conflict with the Turners Falls rule (em the FERC agreed to exempt contracts signed earlier. But it reaffirmed that other sales exceeding net output (e.g., sales of "gross output") would violate QF certification rules. Docket Nos. el94-10-000, Feb. 25, 1998.

Generating Plants

NEW YORK CITY SALE. Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc. on March 3 announced divestiture plans for about two-thirds of its electric generating plants in New York City. The plan divides ConEd's 5,500 MW of electric plants into three bundles. Each bundle contains a major generating plant (em Ravenswood in Long Island City, Astoria in Astoria, and Arthur Kill on Staten Island (em and gas turbine generating facilities in Queens and Brooklyn. ConEd plans to sell two bundles (two-thirds of its total New York City electric capacity) at auction this summer. It hopes to obtain New York PSC approval by July 1, 1998, with the auction process beginning later that month, and winners announced in January 1999. At press time, ConEd had not yet decided which two bundles would be auctioned.

Cooperatives

G&TS CONSIDER MERGER. Two Minnesota generation and transmission cooperatives are studying combining their staffs in anticipation of industry changes. Cooperative Power and United Power Association, the state's two largest G&Ts, feed distribution systems serving 500,000 homes. The boards of the two organizations signed a letter of intent to form a new, as yet unnamed, operating company. Both organizations believe a single operating company "would provide economic benefits and strategic advantages which would be greater than what either organization could accomplish on its own," according to a statement. Both boards indicated their intent is to form an operating company by the end of the year. Both CP and UPA would remain legal entities under the proposal, but would contract with the new operating company for management services. A merger was considered, then deferred for further study because of differences in the tax structure between the two groups. UPA has 400 employees; CP has 360. The G&Ts serve 29 member companies.

CONSUMER ATTITUDES. A survey commissioned by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and described by CEO Glenn English in a recent speech to association members claims that 80 percent of electricity customers served by investor-owned utilities would rather take service from a consumer-owned utility and, of that group, more than a third (39 percent) would be willing to pay a little extra each month for the privilege. The survey, proprietary to NRECA members, claims that 62 percent of IOU customers would prefer a utility that is locally owned and controlled.

State PUCs

ELECTRIC RATE CASES. Green Mountain Power Corp. said it

will appeal a