June 1 , 2002
the Office of Ratepayer Advocates of the California PUC filed its phase I testimony in the PUC's current rulemaking on distributed generation, predicting that DG increasingly will cause California's electric utility industry to "honeycomb" into an Internet-based network of macro and local micro-markets - but that monopoly power likely will increase.
The ORA said it was "intrigued" that DG projects could bid against expansion of the transmission and distribution grid, "placing T&D expansion in the marketplace." It urged a separate dispatch of distribution and distributed generation, and claimed that utility ownership of DG facilities would violate accounting rules at both the PUC and the FERC.
"The question before the PUC," said the ORA, " is whether the supply of local generation service to compensate for inadequate distribution capacity is going to be considered a generation function or a bundled distribution function, as some utilities propose." Other parties filing comments included Enron, TURN, NewEnergy, and the three regulated utilities, San Diego Gas & Electric, Pacific Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison.
Retail Electric Choice. Effective April 6, the Ohio PUC adopted electric restructuring rules concerning certification of competitive providers , nuclear decommissioning compliance , minimum competitive standards for retail electric service and reliability , electric utility market monitoring , safety standards , rules for long-term forecasts , and alternative dispute resolution .
Water Utility Risk. Connecticut regulators authorized Connecticut-American Water Co. to raise rates, but it rejected a proposed 0.5 percent adder to return on equity (above the authorized 10.65 percent), given the company's positive financial performance, "as illustrated by its lack of need for rate relief for over four years." .
Billing Systems. With retail choice in electricity set to begin in Delaware in October, state regulators opened a docket to review billing services and procedures at Delmarva Power & Light Co., prompted by hundreds of complaints filed by customers, for such things as overbilling and failure to notify customers of direct debits against accounts. The PSC will examine whether the company's troubled new "C3" billing system can handle the added demands of a competitive regime.
Michigan Retail Access. After observing the first three rounds of bidding by electric customers seeking to join the state's voluntary program for retail electric choice, the Michigan PSC modified procedures to bar winning bidders from forfeiting a higher-priced bid to activate a lower-priced bid. If the holder of a winning bid forfeits rights to any capacity under that bid, all losing bids will be disqualified.
Computer Modeling. Nevada Power Co. has asked the Nevada PUC to approve a change in its population forecasts computer model for its 2000 Resource Plan from "MODELER" to "REMI," because REMI, it says, is more sophisticated, less expensive, and has become the standard model for population forecasts. The plan is scheduled to be filed at the PUC on or before July 1, 2000.
Electric Retail Choice. With the state legislature having adopted its plan for electric retail choice on March 11, the West Virginia PSC is soliciting comments on various issues, including (1) supplier licensing rules, (2) codes of conduct,