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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - November 15 1998

Load Pockets. The FERC has accepted market power mitigation measures proposed by Consolidated Edison Co. to ensure enough competition after Con Ed divests 6,630 megawatts of its 6,750 MW of electric generating capacity located within the New York City load pocket, where transmission constraints limit power imports.

In-city generators would bid supply into a new power exchange set up by the restructured New York Power Pool and ISO, but the PX would adjust bid prices down to eliminate market power due to constraints whenever bids from in-city suppliers run five-percent higher than the price at the bus bar at Indian Point 2, deemed more representative of power prices in the broader southeast New York market. Docket No. ER98-3169-000, 84 FERC ¶61,287, Sept. 22, 1998.

Short-term Transmission. In two separate cases, the FERC has ok'd different tariffs for short-term (less than one year) point-to-point power transmission (em one priced by distance and the other by locational marginal costs, or differences in energy prices between grid nodes.

• Distance Pricing. On rehearing, FERC ok's proposal by Southwest Power Pool to offer pool-wide, short-term firm and nonfirm point-to-point service using distance-based pricing. Denies protest by Enron that distance pricing ignores congestion or scarcity. Docket No. ER98-1163-001, 85 FERC ¶61,031, Oct. 5, 1998.

• Locational Pricing. FERC accepts tariff for short-term firm point-to-point service filed by PJM Interconnection, LLC. PJM had seen little demand for short-term firm transmission service until the North American Electric Reliability Council imposed new line relief rules. Ordinarily, said PJM, its locational prices allow customers to "buy through" any curtailments. Docket No. ER98- 3963-000, 84 FERC ¶61,212, Sept. 3, 1998.

Electric Reliability

DOE Task Force. On Oct. 2, chairman and former congressman Philip Sharp delivered to the Department of Energy the final report of the Task Force on Electric System Reliability, set up in 1997 by the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board to recommend policy to the DOE on electric reliability to help it draft legislation on electric restructuring.

The 127-page report, Maintaining Reliability in a Competitive U.S. Electricity Industry (issued Sept. 29, 1998), says the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should review existing policies of the current regional reliability councils, including their structures and governance, but admits that the FERC would need additional manpower to do it. See http://www.hr.doe.gov/seab.

Generating Capacity. Responding to last summer's hottest-ever weather, the Texas PUC has initiated Project 19827, investigating adequacy and reserve margins for electric generating capacity over the next two years. It has asked utilities to verify demand and capacity data and to provide information on interruptible loads. Utilities must file action plans by December 4.

Another PUC effort, known as Project 18248, will examine three studies conducted by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, concerning (1) 1997 summer loads in the Dallas area, (2) 1997 summer peaks in the Houston area, and (3) 1997 winter peaks in the Rio Grande Valley.

News Digest is compiled by Lori A. Burkhart and Phillip S. Cross, contributing legal editors, and by Beth Lewis, editorial assistant.

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