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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - September 1 1998

the Eleventh Amendment because PUCs necessarily waive sovereignty under the Act. MCI Telecommunications Corp. v. Bellsouth Telecommunications Inc., No. Civ.A. 97-76, June 29, 1998, 1998 WL 352953 (E.D.Ky.).

ABANDONED PLANT. The Oregon Court of Appeals has overturned a 1995 ruling by the state utility commission that had allowed Portland General Electric Co. to include in rates a return on its investment in the abandoned Trojan nuclear power plant. The PUC had boosted rates by $102 million overall and had allocated undepreciated Trojan investment between ratepayers and shareholders. The court acknowledged that state law did permit recovery of undepreciated retired plant, but explained that the PUC had erred by keeping the Trojan investment in rate base at the same time. Citizens' Utility Board v. Oregon PUC, 94C-10372 et al., June 24, 1998 (Ore.App.).

UNIVERSAL SERVICE. A federal appeals court, agreeing with the district court judge, has rejected a petition for a preliminary injunction to block a Kansas supreme court ruling (issued March 13) that required wireless telecommunications carriers to contribute to the state's universal service fund. Sprint Spectrum L.P. et al. v. Kansas Corp. Comm'n, Nos. 97-3180, et al., June 23, 1998, 1998 WL 330874 (10th Cir.).

Federal Agencies

PRIVATIZATION. The board of directors of the United States Enrichment Corp. on June 29 announced that it would privatize USEC through an initial public offering of securities to the public. USEC is a federally chartered entity owned by the U.S. government, and the board's decision ends an intensive process to determine the best means of privatizing USEC, the world leader in the production and sale of uranium enrichment services for commercial nuclear power plants.

USEC filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering of 100 million shares of common stock at an expected initial price of $13.50 to $16.50 per share. The U.S. government will sell all shares. The decision to sell marks the end of five years of USEC action aimed at privatization.

NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS. The staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has authorized Northeast Utilities to begin restart activities at the Millstone 3 nuclear power plant in Connecticut, conditional on an endorsement from NRC staff regarding pre-operational steps. The Connecticut Department of Utility Control had removed Millstone Unit 2 from the rate base of Northeast Utilities subsidiary Connecticut Light and Power, and was considering similar action for Unit 3 if it was not back on-line by July 1. Docket No. 92-11-11 (N.R.C.).

ELECTRIC COMPETITION BILL. The Clinton Administration released its Comprehensive Electricity Competition Act, which closely resembles the competition plan it released March 25, to little fanfare. The bill further fleshed out the Administration's plans to reform the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 and the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935. Under PURPA reform, states would have the authority to impose reciprocity requirements on distribution utilities from other states seeking to enter its electricity markets. The bill also clarifies state and federal authority over retail transmission services. It stated that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could exempt from its rules on