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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - November 15 1998

stipulation agreement that removes any volume restrictions limiting either program size or the size of individual aggregation pools under a pilot program to be offered by Montana Power Co. for natural gas retail choice. MPC will provide balancing services for each aggregated pool and will allocate a specific portion of on-system transmission and storage capacity and deliverability to suppliers, with such allocations tied to each individual customer. Docket No. D98.2.28, Order No. 6061a, Aug. 13, 1998 (Mont.P.S.C.).

Midwest Price Spikes. On rehearing, the Ohio PUC has softened remedies it imposed on July 7 when it directed electric utilities to assist interruptible electric customers curtailed in June during the Midwest power price spikes. Utilities had fought the July order, saying it violated confidentiality by making them provide Internet-accessible information on current and future availability of generation supply and transmission capacity. The PUC now has acknowledged such concerns and will keep its docket open to let utilities, customers, and mediators work out problems. Case No. 98-978-EL-UNC, Sept. 3, 1998 (Ohio P.U.C.).

Gas Price Volatility. The Kansas State Corporation Commission has approved a tariff proposed by Kansas Gas Service Co. to insulate customers against gas price volatility through a weather-hedged bill-averaging rate design worked out with WeatherWise USA, LLC. The tariff assumes customers will not use more gas even while knowing that their bill will remain fixed, so it allows a 20-percent tolerance on increased usage before the company will take action. Docket No. 98- KGSG-61 1-TAR, Aug. 21, 1998 (Kan.S.C.C.).

Year 2000 Compliance. On Oct. 8, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission chairman John Quain invited the chairmen and critical staff of each state PUC to come to Hershey, Pa. on Dec. 9 for a summit on the Y2K problem.

Otherwise, state PUCs are launching their own programs, even as the FERC and the North American Electric Reliability Council lead the overall gas and electric industry efforts, with their own timetables. (See, "One Deadline, Two Systems: Utilities Tackle Y2K," Nov. 1, 1998, p. 62.)

• Kentucky. Accepts federal definition of "Y2K compliant" (see 48 C.F.R. sec. 39.002), sends questionnaire asking whether utilities will achieve compliance by Dec. 31, 1999. Admin. Case No. 376, Aug. 12, 1998 (Ky.P.S.C.).

• Pennsylvania. Also accepts federal definition, but says utilities must finish replacing, installing, and testing computer hardware and software by March 31, 1999. I-00980076, July 9, 1998 (Pa.P.U.C.).

• Colorado. Issues questionnaire but no deadline. Offers to protect confidentiality of proprietary information revealed by utilities. Docket No. 98M-322, July 22, 1998 (Colo.P.U.C.).

Gas Cost Recovery. In a sunset review required once every five years, the Ohio PUC has opted to retain its gas cost recovery rules without change, despite comments that they do not "readily fit" situations when gas is sold through a competitive supplier. The PUC said no one had proposed any specific solution. Case No. 98-1052-GA-ORD, Aug. 27, 1998 (Ohio P.U.C.).

Electric T&D Lines. The Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control has reviewed maintenance plans and assessments of long-range adequacy of electric transmission and distribution lines filed by Connecticut Light & Power Co. and The United Illuminating Co.