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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 2000

supply costs to a targeted benchmark based on competitive market prices, with the difference shared 50/50 between stockholders and customers. The commission will review the plan after two years.

"We're pleased that Nicor Gas will be the first natural gas utility in Illinois to put into place an alternative natural gas cost rate plan," said Tom Fisher, Nicor chairman, president and CEO. No. 99-0127, Nov. 23, 1999 (Ill.C.C.).

* Oklahoma. Unhappy with the level of risk it was asked to bear without opportunity for reward, Oklahoma Gas & Electric Co. withdrew its proposed PBR plan case from the state commission's Dec. 8 docket after failing to reach a settlement with commission staff and the state attorney general. The utility claimed the plan would have saved ratepayers about $83 million during the 30-month transition to electric competition.

* Kansas. Regulators in Kansas declined for now to adopt retail choice for natural gas supply, but opened a docket to consider an "index system" to replace the purchased gas adjustment mechanisms currently used to track local distribution company procurement costs and decisions. Docket No. 99-GIMG-538-GIG, Oct. 29, 1999 (Kan.S.C.C.).

Gas Balancing. The Georgia PSC ruled that providers of gas delivery services should implement daily balancing fees and penalties. It added that once all retail customers are randomly assigned to a gas supplier, it will deregulate interruptible balancing service provided by local distribution utilities to customers relying on the utility's capacity rights. Docket No. 10768-U, Nov. 4, 1999 (Ga.P.S.C.).

On-Site Generation. The New York PSC authorized Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. to exempt customers who install wind or solar-powered generation equipment from provisions in its existing tariff for standby services. Case 99-E-0991, Oct. 9, 1999 (N.Y.P.S.C.).

**Business Wire

On Dec. 16 Automated Power Exchange Inc. announced plans to launch an Internet-based exchange for electricity trading in the United Kingdom, APX says it will introduce a variety of physical and financial instruments for electricity delivered in England and Wales, on time scales ranging from half-hourly to at least one full year forward.

Consumers Energy as of December had made available some 300 MW (5 percent of its electric capacity) to competing power generators with the completion of the second round of bids in the utility's Electric Customer Choice program. The winning bids are posted on Consumers' website at consumersenergy.com. As in the first round, bids in the second round significantly exceeded the 150 MW of allotted capacity.

Aquila Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of UtiliCorp United, and American Public Energy Agency have signed the largest single long-term natural gas contract to be financed through the issuance of long-term taxable revenue bonds worth approximately $264 million. Aquila is providing the gas to APEA for sale to APEA's municipal utility customers and other public agencies across the United States. Under the contract, gas commenced flowing Dec. 1 and continues for 12 years.

Baltimore Gas & Electrichas selected Derivion to implement Internet bill presentment and payment services for its more than 1 million utility customers. Bult with the deregulating utility industry in mind, Derivion's inetBiller application can be rapidly deployed for