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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - April 1 2000

is licensed to operate until 2014, a renewal that would authorize it to operate until 2034. The request marks the third renewal application to the NRC, behind Baltimore Gas & Electric's Calvert Cliffs plant and Duke Energy's Oconee plant.

Nuclear Unit Sales. The New York Power Authority and Entergy Corp. have reached an agreement in principle for the sale to Entergy of the Power Authority's two nuclear power plants - the Indian Point 3 plant in Buchanan, and the James A. FitzPatrick plant in Oswego County - for $50 million at closing and seven annual installments of about $84 million. In consideration for fuel, Entergy also has agreed to pay seven annual installments of about $24 million.

"The NYPA plants are a good fit for Entergy's growth strategy and its environmental leadership commitment," said Entergy chief executive officer Wayne Leonard, referring to his company's growth strategy in the Northeast.

Power Markets

Electronic Trading. The New York Mercantile Exchange was to switch electricity trading from an "open outcry" mode to its new ACCESS electronic trading system following the close of business on March 2. The new system initially would keep trading open for 22 1/2 hours a day, and then move to a 24-hour system.

"I could see [24-hour trading] happening by the end of this year," said NYMEX president R. Patrick Thompson, who says the electric industry has shown the greatest level of acceptance of electronic trading. Thompson also acknowledged that while NYMEX would have "many of the same-looking products" as HoustonStreet.com, the longer-term goal of the electronic system was greater integration of physical and derivatives markets, allowing for the creation of new products.

"In electric power... the level of information that can be delivered about those markets on an equal-footing basis is quite significant," Thompson said.

Energy Imbalances. Saying the utility's plan did not go far enough, the FERC expanded Commonwealth Edison Co.'s proposal for automated trading in energy imbalances to allow both wholesale and retail energy suppliers to participate. Trading would be conducted via a secure Internet site owned and operated by Automated Power Exchange..

Commissioner Curt Hébert predicted that the program would reduce penalties to be paid by retail customers: "I wonder why the FERC didn't think of it."

Retailer Licensing. The Maine PUC granted a license to Enron Power Marketing Inc. to operate in the state as a competitive energy retailer, serving commercial and industrial customers. .

State Legislatures

Idaho Merger Review . Responding to criticism that regulators were too quick to approve the merger between ScottishPower and PacifiCorp, Idaho legislators have proposed a bill aimed at giving the Idaho PUC more power in approving or rejecting energy company mergers. The bill would change Idaho code to require that ratepayers be "positively impacted" by a merger, rather than the present requirement that ratepayers not be "adversely affected." See .

Virginia Electric Restructuring. On Jan. 17 the Legislative Transition Task Force, formed to implement Virginia's recently enacted electric restructuring law, proposed a final draft for new legislation to amend the state's restructuring law. The new legislation would require the