Public Utilities Reports

PUR Guide 2012 Fully Updated Version

Available NOW!
PUR Guide

This comprehensive self-study certification course is designed to teach the novice or pro everything they need to understand and succeed in every phase of the public utilities business.

Order Now

News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - November 1 1998

ARES, and may share so-called "corporate support services" with affiliates without sanction, though the rules define that term too narrowly, according to some Illinois utilities who intervened in the case. Nos. 98-0013, 98-0035, Sept. 14, 1998 (Ill.C.C.).

• Retailer Certification. Draft rules issued by staff set separate requirements, depending on whether an ARES serves nonresidential load of one megawatt or more, versus residential and small commercial load less than one MW. Rules set tougher requirements for residential service, with special tests barring discrimination on account of geography, gender or race. An ARES that generates, transmits or distributes power must meet technical and managerial qualifications. Sept. 18, 1998 (Ill.C.C.).

• Generation Divestiture. Draft rules don't force transmission and distribution utilities to divest generation, but bar utility employees working in generation or in a "bundled retail power merchant function" from gaining physical access to a utility delivery services system control center (or associated communications and computer systems) or receiving communications or information from such facilities to a degree greater than allowed for an ARES, except in emergencies. Nos. 98-0147, 98-0148, Aug. 28, 1988 (Ill.C.C.).

MULTI-STATE MERGERS. The Wisconsin Public Service Commission has ruled it has no jurisdiction to review two pending electric utility mergers because Wisconsin companies would acquire utilities operating outside the state.

The first deal involved Wisconsin Energy Corp., which won approval from the FERC in April for its merger with ESELCO, the parent company of Edison Sault Electric Co., a Michigan utility. The second concerned WPS Resources Corp., parent of Wisconsin Public Service, which would acquire UPEN, parent company of Upper Peninsula Power Co., another Michigan utility (the FERC ok'd the merger in May). No. 3270-DR-102, Sept. 2, 1998 (Wisc.P.S.C.).

UTILITY MARKETING AFFILIATES. The California Public Utilities Commission has modified rules adopted last year on relationships between energy utilities and their marketing affiliates, permitting temporary assignments of utility marketing employees to an affiliate not engaged in marketing activities in California, such as those operating outside the state or the U.S., along with other changes.

First, affiliates need not pay a minimum 15-percent fee when employees transfer from the utility to the affiliate if the utility would have eliminated the position anyway because of restructuring. Second, utilities may now offer new retail products and services on a nontariffed basis if they do not increase ratepayer risk or divert management control (such as by funding new products with new capital investment or assumption of business risk by utility stockholders). Third, the PUC will now allow new nontariffed products offered to one percent or more of the utility's customer base, provided the utility issues an advice letter addressing possible market impacts. Decision 98-08-035, R. 97-04-011, I. 97-04-012, 97, Aug. 6, 1998 (Cal.P.U.C.).

N.Y. ELECTRIC REFORM. The New York Public Service Commission has issued rulings on generation divestiture, net metering for self-generation, transaction fees charged by utilities to energy retailers, and how to use the proceeds from system benefits charges:

• Generation Divestiture. Sets rebuttable presumption that ownership of generation by affiliate of transmission and distribution utility creates unacceptable vertical market power. Proof of substantial ratepayer benefits, plus