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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - June 1 1998

opposes the Congressional "Mobile Chernobyl" bill, which would allow the shipment of high-level nuclear waste through 43 states to a "temporary" storage site in Nevada. The bills have passed both houses of Congress. However, President Clinton has said repeatedly that he will veto the legislation. Americans believe that property values will drop along the transportation routes and that terrorists could effectively attack radioactive waste shipments.

Catholic Healthcare West selected New Energy Ventures as its energy partner for its California facilities currently serviced by Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison. New Energy Ventures will provide electricity procurement and electric usage data for each facility via the Internet.

TransCanada PipeLines Ltd., NOVA Corp., the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, and the Small Explorers and Producers Association of Canada reached an accord to promote competition and greater customer choice in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin. The April 7 agreement endorses competition, additional pipeline capacity in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin and regulatory changes. The group will develop a regulatory framework and present it to the National Energy Board and the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board.

FERC

TAGGING RULES. The FERC ruled that tagging and other reliability requirements that vary from the provisions of Order 888's pro forma tariffs cannot be used to deny transmission customers access to the system unless approved by FERC as comparable or superior to pro forma requirements. At the same time, however, the commission has expressed no opposition to tagging rules that duplicate information filing requirements already required in the 888 tariffs. The two rulings, issued in two separate dockets but combined in one order, allowed the commission effectively to express its opinion about reliability rules imposed by the North American Electric Reliability Council, even though the FERC lacks direct jurisdiction over NERC. (See "Snatching Victory from the Jaws of Dismissal," May 15, 1998, p. 20.)

In the first docket, the FERC dismissed two filings disputing NERC's tagging requirements. The Coalition Against Private Tariffs had asked whether that tagging requirement was a term and condition of transmission service that may be adopted only after a filing at FERC is made to change the open access tariff. Docket No. el97-58-000, 83 FERC ¶ 61,015, April 7, 1998.

In the second docket, Western Resources had proposed revisions to its open access tariff to reflect adoption of a new Southwest Power pool operating practice tying curtailment priority to whether the customer adheres to the tagging requirement. Docket No. er98-900-000, 83 FERC ¶ 61,015, April 7, 1998 (F.E.R.C.).

Reliability

NERC REORGANIZATION. On April 17, four committees at the North American Electric Reliability Council issued their reports to the NERC Board of Trustees, responding to the proposal issued Dec. 22, 1997 by the blue ribbon Electric Reliability Panel on the future of NERC (Reliable Power: Renewing the North American Electric Reliability Oversight System). The report suggested reorganization of the group to form NAERO, the North American Electric Reliability Organization. The NERC board was to consider the four committee reports at its meeting in early May.

The four committees (em Funding, Governance, Government Interface, and