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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 2000

amortizing the amount over five years instead of 10 to modify lenders. It predicts that the surcharge will rise from about 4 cents per megawatt-hour to about 9 cents. FERC Docket ER99-4235, Filed Dec. 15, 1999.

**Power Plants

Fossil Plant Divestitures. New York-based Central Hudson Gas & Electric was to auction its ownership interests in the 500-megawatt Danskammer (fuel oil-, natural gas- and coal-fired) and the 1,200-MW Roseton (fuel oil-and natural gas-fired) electric generating plants, as part of its restructuring to provide competition in that state. The auction proposal filed at the New York PSC calls for the plants to be offered for sale as a single asset in order to optimize operation and maintenance efforts.

Central Hudson, the lead seller on behalf of the other owners, holds a 35 percent interest in Roseton, while 25 percent is owned by Niagara Mohawk and 40 percent by Consolidated Edison Co. of New York. The auction will include a transition power agreement, allowing Central Hudson to purchase electricity from the winning bidder.

**State Legislatures

Michigan Electric Restructuring. Michigan state senator Mat Dunaskiss, in consultation with Senate Majority Leader Dan DeGrow, was to introduce electric restructuring legislation on Jan. 12, with hearings to begin Jan. 24, with support from commercial and industrial users and a large coalition of utilities, including CMS Energy Corp.

Michigan utilities have gone forward with voluntary retail choice programs with the blessing of the state PSC, after a state court last year struck down attempts by the PSC to make retail choice mandatory. Now, Sen. Dunaskiss, chairman of the technology and energy committee, said, "we believe that with continued discussions from additional interests we can have a bill ready for passage early next year."

Any state law also must comply with a federal district court ruling issued in Michigan last July (but not released until December) that said that any PSC restructuring program must allow utilities to bill their customers for avoided cost rates for purchased power paid to qualifying cogeneration facilities.

Consumer Education. Virginia regulators sent a proposed $30 million plan for consumer education on electric restructuring ("Virginia Energy Choice") to the state legislature for inclusion in the state budget, preparing for retail choice in 2002.

The state commission has proposed financing the program ($6 million per year for five years at a cost of 89 cents per year per resident) by increasing the special tax currently used to finance the operation of the commission.

**State PUCs

Gas Retailer Complaints. To help citizens choose a natural gas marketer, the Georgia PSC has issued "score-cards" that compare the state's certified natural gas marketers by volume of consumer complaints.

Available on the PSC's Internet website, the scorecards list the percentage of complaints received for energy 10,000 customers that a particular marketer serves in Georgia. Complaints are broken down into three separate categories; billing, service and deceptive marketing practices.

"By posting these scorecards on the commission's web page, it is our intention to ar consumers with more information about the newly deregulated market that can be used in arriving at a decision of