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 - December 1999

that the PUC would receive the same access to books and records accorded to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and that neither the FERC nor SEC would preempt state PUC authority over cost allocations between operating subsidiaries and the holding company. It added that by its approval it did not suggest that NGG should recover any part of the acquisition premium from state ratepayers. Order No. 23,308, Oct. 4, 1999 (N.H.P.U.C.).

So. Union + Fall River. Texas-based Southern Union Co. on Oct. 5 agreed to acquire Fall River Gas Co., a Massachusetts utility, for $75 million, including assumption of debt, resulting in Fall River Gas operating as a division of Southern Union.

So. Union + Penn. Enterprises. The Missouri PSC OK'd a merger agreement between Southern Union Co. and Pennsylvania Enterprises Inc. Pennsylvania and Florida also have approved the merger. Case No. GM-2000-43, Oct. 21, 1999 (Mo.P.S.C.).

Power Plants

Utility Plant Swap. The Ohio PUC OK'd a transfer and swap of generating plants between FirstEnergy and Duquesne Light, denying objections that it had no authority to review the deal. It refused to link approval to accelerated formation of a regional transmission organization and found no basis for claims by intervenors that the agreements must include obligations to provide reactive power support. Case No. 98-1636-EL-UNC, Oct. 28, 1999 (Ohio P.U.C.).

Hydroelectric Relicensing. A group of over 250 hydroelectric industry members and non-industry allies on Oct. 13 announced a new coalition, known as "WaterPower," to improve the hydro relicensing process.

Group spokesperson and former FERC chair Elizabeth Moler explained: "Our goal is to streamline the process, while respecting the economic and environmental benefits of hydropower."

Hydro Restructuring. The California PUC unanimously approved a ruling by an administrative law judge requiring Pacific Gas & Electric Co. by Nov. 15 to propose methods to assign a value to its 68 hydroelectric generating plants, since the assets make up a substantial portion of the state's ancillary services market and play a vital role in assuring the reliability of the state's electric grid.

While PG&E may propose any method, it must value each plant separately. At a minimum it must (1) include a market value for associated real property, (2) assume existing environmental and licensing conditions, (3) assume the cost and value of existing water contracts, (4) assume various future energy and capacity price scenarios, (5) consider the economies of operating clusters of facilities, and (6) assume continued operation of the generating facility at the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Decision No. 99-10-046, Oct. 21, 1999 (Cal.P.U.C.).

Colstrip Sale. Regulators in Washington state OK'd a proposal by Puget Sound Energy to sell its interest in the four-unit Colstrip coal-fired plant in Eastern Montana for $555.9 million to PP&L Global Inc., a sister company of Pennsylvania Power & Light Co.

The commission saw the sale as a "wash" for Puget Energy, producing a gain plus short-term savings from buying cheaper power elsewhere, but producing losses later on, as Colstrip is expected in the long run to produce power at below-market costs. Docket No. UE-990267, Sept. 30, 1999 (Wash.U.T.C.).

Emission Cuts.