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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - April 1 2000

shopping credits come closer to matching actual costs, the association says that about 10 percent of customers had switched after one year of competition. See


Consumer Privacy. A Pennsylvania court ruled that PECO Energy had no standing to challenge a state PUC order that obliged utilities to release limited customer proprietary data to competitive energy retailers, since a utility "does not represent the interests of its ratepayers." .

Cross-Selling Discounts. A Michigan court ruled that Ameritech violated a state law ban against predatory pricing for telephone service (any charges below the TSLRIC rate, or "total service element incremental costs") when it offered vouchers to customers redeemable for credit against bills either for telephone or cable television service. .

Gas Rate Design . In a natural gas rate order, the North Carolina Supreme Court affirmed use of a "peak-and-average" method over the "peak responsibility" formula to allocate fixed costs, noting that the PR method would give a "free ride" to interruptible customers, who receive uninterrupted service on most days of the year. .

Submetering. A Georgia court upheld a state PSC ruling that let Georgia Power serve a large apartment complex located within the service territory of an electric co-op, since the apartment was a single customer and thus qualified for the "large load exception" under state law. .

Slamming. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled that the state utility commission - not the courts - has exclusive authority to resolve complaints by telephone customers about slamming under a new state law. .

Power Plants

Deferred Tax Normalization . In light of a private letter ruling issued by the Internal Revenue Service on Jan. 6, which concluded that any flowback to utility customers of deferred unamortized investment tax credits (ITCs) or excess deferred income taxes (EDITs) associated with divested generating assets would violate the normalization rules in the federal income tax code, the Maine PUC has OK'd a stipulation that promises no such mandatory flowthrough and allows Central Maine Power to remove from its balance sheets the regulatory liabilities relating to such unamortized ITCs or EDITs.

The stipulation also settled certain issues concerning accounting for gain on the sale of generating assets and how to reflect such gain in standard-offer rates. .

Fossil Unit Divestitures. Potomac Electric Power Co. has begun site tours for prospective buyers of its four power plants and mailed an "information memorandum" to nearly 2,000 interested parties in February to kick off a two-stage auction process expected to be completed by year end.

"We are extremely pleased with the level of interest shown in our generation assets thus far in the auction process," said Bill Sim, group vice president for generation. The company said that large multi-national power producers, independent power producers, and utility affiliates all had expressed interest.

The assets represent over 6,000 MW, including four power plants, five purchased power agreements, and certain ancillary services.

Nuclear Relicensing. Entergy Corp. on Feb. 1 applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for renewal of the operating license for Unit 1 of its Arkansas Nuclear One generating plant, which