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News Digest

State PUCs
Fortnightly Magazine - May 1 2000

issued until April 14, the PUC had said earlier that it would allow securitization only for $357 million.

"It is truly disheartening that the commission failed to follow the [restructuring] law passed by the 76th legislature," said Tom Baker, president of TXU Electric distribution business unit.

Fuel Cost Adjustments. The Ohio PUC rejected an attempt by Toledo Edison Co. and Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co. to protect the current level of fuel clause adjustments (OK'd by the PUC in 1997) under a rate freeze ordered in the state's electric restructuring law, and thus avoid rate cuts in year 2000 for the electric fuel component (EFC) that the PUC OK'd back in 1997.

The PUC said the new law clearly delayed any repeal current EFC rules until the expected startup of retail choice, in year 2001.

EDI Standards. The New York PSC established the Internet as the preferred means of transacting electronic data interchange and called on utilities to file by the end of the year plans for standardized EDI for customer enrollment and billing functions.

The PSC also endorsed "ANSI X-12" as the standard for formatting electronic transactions, and reaffirmed that existing business practices may need to be modified to ensure an efficient electronic data interchange process. All market participants will be required to use EDI in the exchange of retail access data beginning in 2001.

Cost Adjustment Clauses. While authorizing Cheyenne Light, Fuel and Power Co. to boost electric rates by $2.1 million and gas rates by $1.2 million, the Wyoming PSC authorized the utility to implement a new "zero-based" energy cost adjustment mechanism, by which all wheeling and energy costs are removed from electric service base rates and recovered through the adjustment clause.

The PSC said that the new rate would provide more accurate price signals and fairer tracking of price components within utility rates.

Gas Industry Research. The New York PSC approved a petition by the New York Gas Group establishing a voluntary state funding mechanism for natural gas research and development programs, replacing the FERC surcharge on interstate pipelines for R&D at the Gas Research Institute.

Electric Restructuring. The Nevada PUC recently acted to adopt regulations in three areas in order to implement electric retail choice, but Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific companies since have gone to the courts attacking the Nevada law creating retail choice.

  • OK'd rules governing recovery of stranded costs and transition costs associated with customer aggregation, generation, billing, and metering.
  • Received comments on a proposal on how the PUC will select providers of last resort. Starting on July 1, 2001, the provider of last resort will be the electric distribution company affiliate, which will charge a rate not to exceed rates that were in effect on July 1, 1999.
  • Took comments and held public hearings on a proposed rule for a universal tariff for meter services after determining that the rule would not impose a significant economic burden on small businesses.

Meanwhile, Nevada Power and Sierra Pacific on March 28 filed complaints in federal court to have the Nevada law that created the framework for