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News Digest

State PUCs
Fortnightly Magazine - April 15 2000


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Business Wire

DTE Energy Technologies , an unregulated subsidiary of DTE Energy Co. , has reached a distribution agreement with GENERAC Power Systems , a manufacturer of prepackaged standby power systems for homes and small businesses, for DTE to market the Generac GUARDIAN product, which provides fully automated standby power systems for homes and small businesses in Southeastern Michigan. DTE also will market custom-designed engineered systems for larger commercial and industrial customers. "The addition of the Generac product line to our portfolio represents a key step toward attaining our vision of DTE Energy Technologies as a preeminent supplier of distributed generation products and services," said Paul Horst, president of DTE Energy Technologies.

Consumers Energy and Chubu Electric Power Co. of Nagoya, Japan have signed what is believed to be the first-ever agreement to form a purchasing alliance between an American and Japanese utility company. The agreement supports an objective of the Japanese and U.S. governments to promote increased exports of U.S.-made utility equipment to Japan. The goals of the agreement are to examine product cost, productivity standardization, new product development, electronic technology, resource and knowledge sharing, and procurement process improvement and streamlining.

United Energy of Australia has signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract with CES International , a provider of real-time infrastructure reliability solutions, for the deployment of its Centricity operations resource management suite of solutions. With the agreement, CES becomes United Energy Distribution's prime contractor, systems integrator, and project management services provider for its electric and gas distribution management systems project.

Public Power

Las Cruces-El Paso Elec. Dispute . A settlement that would end the long-running dispute between the City of Las Cruces and El Paso Electric Co. over municipalization of EPE's electric distribution system in the city would give EPE a seven-year franchise to serve the city.

EPE would pay the city an annual 2 percent franchise fee (about $800,000/ year) and a lump sum of $21 million, and after seven years, Las Cruces would be able to buy EPE's distribution system for book value plus 30 percent.

Congress

Reliability & Restructuring . Without calling it an electric restructuring bill, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) on Feb. 24 introduced legislation that would repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 and the mandatory purchase requirement in Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, in addition to allowing for stranded cost recovery.

The measure, Senate Bill 2098, addresses reliability by calling for eminent domain to construct new interstate transmission lines, and for the North American Electric Reliability Council to file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed reliability standards, over which the commission would have approval authority. Cosponsored by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), the bill also allows for FERC oversight of regional transmission organizations. See http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c106:S.2098:.

Electric Rates

Oregon Electric Rates. Finding the request inconsistent with a previous rate-setting agreement, the Oregon PUC rejected a request by PacifiCorp for a 12.6 percent residential rate hike, and told the company it must correct the deficiencies and extend the period of investigation of its filing