In union circles, they call it "burial insurance." That apt phrase denotes the severance, early retirement and re-training packages negotiated for veteran utility workers sideswiped by a changing...
native load preference on transmission capacity.
But give credit where it's due. AEP and CSW have settled with just about any party that might have fought the merger. In November, Commonwealth Edison and Cinergy broke ranks with MISO and withdrew their opposition to the merger. (ComEd now has its hands full defending its proposal of Dec. 13 to form a separate transco within MISO. Many have challenged that move, including old standbys APPA, Enron and ELCON, plus Madison Gas & Electric, Wisconsin Public Service, the state regulators in Wisconsin and Iowa.)
In the AEP case, the latest settlement was filed on Jan. 28. In that deal, AEP and CSW agreed to let the Missouri Public Service Commission seek relief if that state should adopt electric competition several years down the road, and then should discover that the merger interferes with their newly competitive power markets. And consider this: The Missouri PSC didn't even have jurisdiction to review the merger in the first place.
This latest concession drew sarcasm from APPA and NRECA. As they see it, AEP and CSW have "reached into their knapsacks to come up with enough goodies to buy the silence of many customers and competitors."
We'll know soon whether that has worked.
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