Capture and sequestration will help ensure the future of coal-fired power plants. Demonstration projects are allowing utilities to kick the tires on the latest technologies, and to learn how CCS...
Gas Retail Rate Design. In a move toward equalizing rates of return between customer classes, the Oregon PUC authorized Northwest Natural Gas Co. to increase base rates by nearly $246,000, at the same time boosting residential rates by 1.3 percent but lowering rates for large commercial and industrial users. It set return on equity at 10.25 percent, finding the rate "consistent with the downward trend of ROEs authorized by other regulatory commissions." Order No. 99-697, Nov. 12, 1999 (Ore.P.U.C.).
Electric Restructuring. The Maryland PSC approved restructuring plans for Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. and Delmarva Power & Light Co., requiring the utilities to implement customer choice for all customers by July 1, 2000 - as much as two years earlier than called for under the state's restructuring law. That law set deadlines of Jan. 1, 2001, for industrial and business customers and July 2, 2002, for all residential users. Other features of the plans include:
* Metering. Competitive metering will become available in BG&E's service area for large customers (peak loads in excess of 300 kilowatts) on July 1, 2000, with all other customers eligible on April 1, 2002.
* Generation Assets. Delmarva would sell 2,200 MW of nuclear and coal-fired generating capacity to third parties, transferring unsold assets to an unregulated affiliate. BG&E would sell or drop all its generation, including the Calvert Cliffs nuclear plant - a reversal of its previously stated intention.
* Residential Rates. BG&E would cut rates an average of 6.5 percent beginning on the July 1 start date, and freeze them for six years. Delmarva residential customers would get a 7 percent reduction and a four-year freeze.
* Stranded Costs. Delmarva would recover $8 million, all from non-residential customers, of the $16 million it requested. BG&E may recover $528 million ($193.8 million from residential customers) and, as a component of its unbundled distribution rate, $333 million in generation-related regulatory assets (e.g., deferred taxes) as well as up to $520 million in Calvert Cliffs decommissioning costs.
* Shopping Credits (Residential). Delmarva's credit will not fall below 4.92 cents per kilowatt-hour. BG&E's will escalate from 4.22 cents to 5.22 cents per kilowatt-hour over the rate plan period as stranded-cost recovery charges decline.
Order No. 75680 (Delmarva), Oct. 8, 1999 (Md.P.S.C.); Order No. 75757 (BG&E), Nov. 10, 1999 (Md.P.S.C.).
Utility Affiliates. Rules adopted in Illinois address relationships between electric utilities and unregulated affiliates, including advertising, marketing, customer information and maintenance of books and records. No. 98-0013, Nov. 5, 1999 (Ill.C.C.).
Electric Restructuring. Potomac Electric Power Co. on Nov. 9 reached a settlement with almost all parties to a rate case that would cut rates - if approved by the Washington, D.C. PSC - and allow PEPCO to divest its generating assets and purchased power contracts via an auction held in 2000.
The proposal calls for residential ratepayers to receive a 7 percent rate cut, phased in at 2 percent on Jan. 1, 2000, 1.5 percent on July 1, 2000, and an additional 3.5 percent one month after closing the power plant sale. Rate cuts for commercial customers