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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 1999

existing and prospective retail customers. The statements are to be in the form of a "label" that will provide information on fuel resource mix and selected associated air emissions levels relative to a statewide average. A tracking system based on financial settlements data held by the ISO and the transmission and distribution utilities would be used to generate aggregated energy transactions information. Taking into account that ISO operations may begin in March 1999, the commission anticipates that customers would begin receiving disclosure labels around April 2000. Case No. 94-E-0952, Opinion No. 98-19, Dec. 15, 1998 (N.Y. P.S.C.).

Electric Competition Rules. In an eleventh-hour move, Arizona approved amendments to its statewide electric competition plan, which was to begin in January. One change modifies the timetable for implementation of competition for the various classes of customers. Another requires utilities to report to the commission on possible mechanisms - such as a 3 to 5 percent rate cut - to provide benefits to those customers not yet eligible for competitive services during the transition period. The amendments state that all customers will be eligible for competitive services by Jan. 1, 2001. Docket No. RE-00000C-94-0165, Decision No. 61272, Dec. 11, 1998 (Ariz. Corp. Comm'n).

Gas Transportation Rates. North Carolina opted not to abandon the "full margin" design for setting natural gas transportation rates. The commission, required by law to study transportation rates charged by local distribution companies, did not consider industry restructuring in its decision. Under the full margin concept, the serving LDC receives the same margin per dekatherm of gas delivered to the customer regardless of whether the LDC or the customer procures the gas supply. Docket No. G-5, sub 386, Dec. 2, 1998 (N.C.U.C.).

Metering and Billing. Pennsylvania has taken steps to hasten a competitive market in electric metering and billing.

First, the commission declined to reconsider an earlier directive requiring PECO Energy Co. to set procedures for third-party metering and billing, noting that the policy was compulsory rather than permissive, even though approved initially in a settlement agreement. But it did extend the deadline for implementation in recognition of the "complex nature of the infrastructure changes" necessary in the utility's operations. Docket No. R-00973953; P-00971265, Nov. 4, 1998 (Pa.P.U.C.).

Second, it ok'd a revised set of final regulations to govern deployment and selection of advanced metering devices, after the state legislature and an independent review committee had rejected the original rules. The revision adds language explaining that the regulations do not require the unbundling of metering services (but the PUC may approve a utility request for such unbundling). Docket No. L-00970128, Oct. 19, 1998 (Pa.P.U.C.).

Gas Infrastructure Investment. Maine has issued three separate decisions dealing with expansion of gas distribution service to new areas, including gas service offered for the first time by electric utilities.

Finding an improved financial condition for Bangor Hydro Electric Co., the PUC ok'd the utility's $1.22 million investment in a new gas company formed to serve the Bangor area. Docket No. 97-796, Order Phase II, Oct. 30, 1998 (Me.P.U.C.).

It authorized a new gas utility, Bangor Gas Co.,