Vicky A. Bailey, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has left the FERC to serve as president of Cinergy Corp.'s PSI Energy Inc. unit in Indiana. Bailey served on the Indiana...
PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION. Chief Judge D. Brock Hornby of the U.S. District Court in Maine, decided to allow Portland Natural Gas Transmission System access to electric transmission corridors owned by Central Maine Power Co. The access will be used to install a natural gas pipeline.
Portland received FERC approval Sept. 24 for installing and operating a 292-mile, $302-million interstate pipeline. CMP owns about 70 miles of the electric transmission corridor. The preliminary injunction, issued April 10, gives Portland access to property on CMP-owned transmission corridors.
"While we are disappointed that this matter had to be resolved through litigation, we are very pleased with the court's timely and comprehensive decision in our favor," said Michael A. Minkos, Portland president.
REFUND SUITS. Ratepayers filed a lawsuit in Orleans Parish Civil District Court to recoup $300 million they allege Entergy Corp. overcharged them. The lawsuit claims Entergy failed to comply with franchise ordinances passed in 1922, permitting operation of an electric monopoly in New Orleans and limiting profits to 7.5 percent annually. Since 1975, ratepayers claimed, Entergy has earned returns from 8.33 to 21 percent. Ratepayers want all earnings greater than 7.5 percent to be refunded.
ARIZONA ELECTRIC COMPETITION. The Arizona Supreme Court refused to hear challenges to the Arizona Corporation Commission's authority to establish electric industry competition.
In December 1996, the commission had enacted rules opening electric markets by allowing providers to compete with traditional utilities. Most of the state's electric utilities appealed the commission's decision. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge B. Michael Dann disagreed and upheld the commission's authority. The utilities bypassed the court of appeals and asked the state supreme court to overturn the superior court decision. The high court refused to hear the challenge and directed the parties to the appellate court.
"The Supreme Court's refusal to hear this case is a clear victory for the customer, who will be able to escape the stranglehold over the customer's ability to choose their electric energy provider," said Renz D. Jennings, commissioner. "The commission remains on track for bringing competition to Arizona on Jan. 1, 1999." Nos. cv-98-0146-sa and cv-98-0147-sa, April 21, 1998 (Ariz.Sup.Ct.).
Studies & Reports
POWER MARKETING ADMINISTRATIONS. The U.S. General Accounting Office released a report that finds PMAs face an uncertain future. Federal Power - Options for Selected Power Marketing Administrations' Role in a Changing Electricity Market says PMAs cost the Treasury $1.5 billion from 1992 to 1996. Also, up to $1.4 billion of $7.2 billion of federal investment in electric-related assets at the three PMAs is at risk of nonrecovery.
GAO presented three options for the three PMAs the report focused on, Southeastern, Southwestern and Western Area: (1) continue to operate as in the past; (2) maintain present ownership while improving management and operation; and (3) divestiture by the federal government.
TEXAS STRANDED COSTS. The Texas Public Utility Commis-sion issued a report finding that stranded costs for electric utilities in Texas will be much lower than projected two years ago. It gave credit for that reduction to the positive effects of competitive transition plans for the state's major electric utilities.