to bypass the solicitation process entirely.
Public Purpose Surcharges. The Vermont board denied a petition by 14 municipal utilities to adjust the state's energy efficiency charge (a surcharge on utility bills) to avoid overcollecting the EEC if utility rates also increase.
It agreed with hearing officer Sandra A. Waldstein, who said the EEC lay outside the reach of a rate case, but remains subject to an independent end-of-year true-up.
Electric Restructuring. The Virginia commission took comments until May 22 on rules governing the separation of electric utilities' generation services from their transmission and distribution services (Case No. PUA000029), and relations between electric cooperatives and their non-regulated affiliates . The rules are to become effective July 1, 2000, and utilities are to file functional separation plans by Jan. 1, 2001 in preparation for the start of retail choice on Jan. 1, 2002.
Utah Power & Light asked the Idaho PUC to approve a voluntary electric rate option based on blocks of power generated by renewables (solar, geothermal, and wind) under which customers would pay an additional $4.75 per month per 100-kilowatt-hour block of renewable energy.
CMS Energy Corp. plans to sell its 50 percent interest in the 2000-MW Loy Yang Power plant and coal mine complex near Melbourne, Australia. The proceeds from the sale will be added to the $600 million to $750 million the company expects to receive for non-strategic assets sold by April. Alan M. Wright, senior vice president and chief financial officer, said that "the company has determined that Loy Yang is no longer strategic to CMS Energy's portfolio and it has not met the company's original financial expectations."
Six of the largest gas and electricity marketers in the United States have formed a new independent energy trading consortium, which will own and operate an Internet-based business-to-business, over-the-counter energy trading platform. The new trading platform, which initially will offer an over-the-counter market for natural gas and electricity in North America, is expected to be in operation by the end of the year and will be open to all wholesale energy industry participants. The consortium's members are American Electric Power , Aquila Energy (subsidiary of UtiliCorp United), Duke Energy, El Paso Energy , Reliant Energy , and Southern Co. Energy Marketing .
CES International has been contracted by San Diego Gas & Electric to enhance power delivery service and reliability for more than 1.2 million utility customers with the deployment of the Centricity operations resource management system. SDG&E will use CES International as its prime contractor to support its personnel in the deployment of the Centricity operations resource management system.
Andersen Consulting and edocs Inc. have formed an alliance to enhance both companies' respective abilities to replace the standard bill-and-envelope billing method with electronic payment and presentment. Andersen Consulting and edocs Inc. will provide electronic billing solutions to clients to help them meet consumer demand for the service and cut costs.
Entergy System Coordination. Citing problems in the South Central United States as states introduce retail choice on different timetables, the Louisiana PSC and the