In union circles, they call it "burial insurance." That apt phrase denotes the severance, early retirement and re-training packages negotiated for veteran utility workers sideswiped by a changing...
- the PUC said it preferred a method of assigning gain to the party that has born the risk and favored an allocation of a 95 percent share for ratepayers and 5 percent to shareholders in order to protect ratepayers from harm from the sale. But the PUC clarified that that allocation is for accounting purposes only, and that it will make a final decision in PacifiCorp's pending rate case docketed as UE 111.
- . Ordered Avista to return the $6.8 million Idaho share of its after-tax gain to Idaho ratepayers in the form of a 1.3 percent rate cut over the next eight years.
Exempt Wholesale Generators. A ruling issued by the Delaware PSC supports designation of generating facilities owned in part by Conectiv subsidiaries, Delmarva Power & Light Co. and Atlantic City Electric Co., as eligible facilities under federal law.
The companies sought the ruling to allow for the sale of their interest in the Peach Bottom, Salem, and Hope Creek Nuclear plants to PSEG Nuclear LLC, an exempt wholesale generator.
The PSC found that continued ownership of an interest in the plants was not necessary for reliability of electric service in Delaware and that during past periodic outages at the plants delmarva had been able to acquire substitute power to meet its load demands.
Northern Border Project . Approving a "rolled-in" rate treatment for the $94.4 million project, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Northern Border Pipeline Co.'s Project 2000, a 34-mile pipeline going from Chicago to a delivery point near North Hayden, Ind., that will provide a direct link between Canadian natural gas supplies and the Northern Indiana markets.
The FERC rejected arguments that existing shippers will subsidize the project, but yielded somewhat by requiring Northern Border to file for new initial rates should cost overruns occur before the facilities go into service, thus the existing shippers an opportunity to object to the inclusion in their rates of cost overruns from Project 2000.
In affirming a need for the project, the FERC noted the 10-year contracts with five shippers: El Paso Energy Marketing Co., Bethlehem Steel Corp., Northern Indiana, Peoples Energy Services Corp., and Peoples Gas Light & Coke Co.
Studies and Reports
Uniform Business Practices. An interim report on an initiative to create uniform business practices in the deregulating electric industry, prepared for the Edison Electric Institute by Wayfinder Group, states that agreements have been reached among stakeholders in several areas, including customer information, switching, and billing.
The report states that customer switching generally should occur on the customer's meter read date, and that the Internet is widely accepted as the most efficient and forward-looking means for certified market stakeholders to obtain information authorized for release.
More workshops are scheduled for June, before the anticipated July release of the final report. See http://ubpnet.org/.
Market Power. A study from the Department of Energy concludes that the exercise of market power could significantly offset the projected benefits of competition in electricity generation markets.
It notes that in markets already restructured, such as in California and