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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 2000

billers with total implementation time of 30 to 60 days from contract signing to first bill. This period covers all steps necessary for complete electronic bill presentment and payment implementation, including designing the online bill, setting up the interfaces to existing billing systems, presenting bills online, promoting the service and launching the process of enrolling customers.

Dana Corp, Texaco, Southern Co. and Salt River Project have joined forces for a three-year, $7 million fuel cell demonstration and evaluation project at the Houston Advanced Research Center. The objective is to demonstrate the value of stationary, near-zero emission PEM fuel cell units in both small and large-scale applications at HARC's newly created Center for Fuel Cell Research and Application.

GE Power Systems will supply power generation equipment and additional services for the construction of a $194 million, Build-Operate-Transfer, natural gas-fired power plant will be supply 206 MW of electricity for Alapli, in the province of Zonguldak, Turkey. ATAM Elektrik Sanayive Ticaret A.S. of Istanbul is sponsoring the project, which is scheduled to begin commercial service in the fourth quarter of 2002.

The Power Pool of Alberta has signed a contract with Andersen Consulting to develop an Internet-based Energy Trading System, which will provide the technology to operate in the electric energy market in 2001. The new system will be designed to equip the Power Pool to handle higher volumes of transactions in preparation for customer choice and the auction of power purchase arrangements, and to interface with other markets that may be developed.

**Electric Reliability

Federal Legislation. On Dec. 21, the North American Electric Reliability Council urged House Commerce Committee Chairman Thomas Bliley to move forward on those items in H.R. 2944 ("The Electric Competition and Reliability Act") that affect electric reliability, if action on the full bill should falter.

NERC stated that, "Without the ability to enforce compliance with mandatory reliability rules, fairly applied to all participants, we may not be able much longer to keep the interstate electric grids operating reliably."

Native Load Preference. Warning that if the decision is allowed to stand, "the concept of uniform quality of firm transmission service may be eviscerated," three trade associations have joined up with the Transmission Access Policy Study Group and seven transmission-dependent generation and transmission cooperatives to file an amici curiae brief at the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to overturn the 8th Circuit ruling from last May that said the FERC lacks authority to impose open-access rules on retail native load subject to state PUC jurisdiction.

The Electricity Consumers Resource Council has joined with the American Iron and Steel Institute, and the Chemical Manufacturers Association to dispute that ruling.

ELCON executive director John A. Anderson says the case calls into question the central question in electric restructuring: "Will the transmission grid be subject to one national set of rules that encourages competition, or will the states be allowed to tamper with the grid?"

Resource Planning. Acknowledging the need for reliability to be assessed from a regional perspective, the Pennsylvania PUC revised its resource planning filing requirements to reflect changes in the restructured