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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - March 1 1999

contracts for "reliability-must-run" (RMR) generation. The PUC would supervise determinations on cost, rate of return and their allocation to rate components. The EOB would lead on RMR services (ratemaking, reliability and operational aspects) and their impact on energy markets.

The draft had been circulated in late December, with comments filed by the state Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission, the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. Resolution No. L-276, notice issued Dec. 18, 1998 (Cal.P.U.C.).

Regional Transmission Groups. Anticipating the FERC's regional "consultation sessions" on regional transmission organizations set for St. Louis (Feb. 11), Las Vegas (Feb. 12) and Washington, D.C. (Feb. 17), and the FERC's stated intent to issue a rulemaking sometime this year, the Edison Electric Institute endorsed a voluntary, flexible approach to the formation of regional transmission grid organizations in a resolution approved by its board of directors at the Institute's Jan. 7 annual winter meeting of industry CEOs.

Federal Agencies

Nuclear Waste Disposal. Yucca Mountain, Nev. remains a "promising site" for a permanent, deep nuclear waste repository, even after 15 years of intensive study, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management. That report, "Viability Assessment of a Repository at Yucca Mountain," sets a preliminary design concept with cost estimates, and calls for work to proceed so that the DOE can decide in 2001 whether to recommend the site to the president.

A major concern is whether the Yucca Mountain facility can function as planned, without compromise, for thousands of years. According to the DOE, uncertainties remain over key natural processes, such as groundwater infiltration. It plans to prepare environmental impact statements by 2001. For more information, visit http://www.ymp.gov/va.htm.

Contract Buyouts. Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. has reported a revenue ruling from the Internal Revenue Service that cash and stock paid by the utility to various independent power producers to terminate certain long-term purchased power contracts is a deductible 1998 business expense. NiMo expects to record a large net operating loss for 1998, generating a tax refund of about $122 million and carried over to be available to offset taxable income in future years.

News Digest was compiled by Carl J. Levesque, editorial assistant for Public Utilities Fortnightly, and by Lori A. Burkhart and Philip S. Cross, contributing legal editors. Business Wire by Beth Lewis, editorial assistant.

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