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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - October 15 1999

604537, Aug. 12, 1999 (Pa.Commw.Ct.).

State PUCs

Proprietary Data. Minnesota has adopted revised procedures for handling trade secret and privileged data, effective Sept. 1. Under the procedures, data identified as "proprietary" will be considered public, while data classified as "trade secret" and "privileged" will be protected from public disclosure. See ebranch/puc/download/default.htm.

Voluntary Retail Choice. In letters addressed to the Michigan PSC, both Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison Co. reaffirmed their intent to proceed voluntarily with customer choice programs for electricity. Mich. PSC Case No. U-11290, letters filed Sept. 1, 1999.

A state court had struck down the commission's mandatory choice plan in June, but the PSC ruled in mid-August that it could proceed with the plan if utilities participate voluntarily. See News Digest, Public Utilities Fortnightly, Sept. 15, 1999, p. 18.

Electric Retail Choice. Thirty-one days before the scheduled Oct. 1 start date for electric retail choice, Delaware adopted rules for certification and regulation of electric suppliers and a restructuring plan for Delmarva Power & Light Co.

* Supplier Certification. The rules will allow customers of Delmarva P&L to choose to receive either separate or combined bills from their electric supplier and DP&L (doing business as Conectiv Power Delivery). The rules also provide that supply service using at least 50 percent renewables will be considered "green power" service, and also require net metering for customers using on-site renewable generation. Order No. 5207, Aug. 31, 1999 (Del.P.S.C.).

* Stranded Costs. A restructuring plan approved by the Delaware PSC the same day does not require DP&L to divest generation assets, but also does not allow the company to recover through rates its calculated $50 million in stranded costs. The commission will keep in place Delmarva's pre-competition code of conduct but will consider changes to the code in a new docket, to be completed by June 30, 2000. Docket No. 99-163, Aug. 31, 1999 (Del.P.S.C.).

Gas Service Quality. Pennsylvania's newly approved service guidelines for natural gas require that customer protections "at minimum, be maintained at the same level of quality under retail competition" as on date of passage of the state's gas competition legislation.

All suppliers must receive uniform treatment from natural gas local distribution companies with respect to the supplier selection process (set up by the LDCs). The rules also provide guidelines for complaint and dispute resolution, termination for failure to pay and the application of partial payments. Docket No. M-00991249, Aug. 26, 1999 (Pa.P.U.C.)

Electricity Delivery Unbundling. A commission staff draft schedule for unbundling electric delivery services in Illinois sets Nov. 15 as a target date for a first interim order on the issue, with a second interim order to be issued Jan. 7, 2000 and the final order coming May 1, 2000. Matters to be addressed range from determining what metering services would be unbundled to establishing standards for data distribution to market participants, and open architecture standards for data exchange. See Docket No. 99-0013.

Electric Supplier Fee. The New Jersey board approved a "TPS" fee to be charged by utilities to third-party electric suppliers to recover costs incurred