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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - September 1 2000

system, subject to a "rate case protocol" to guarantee that the generation component of future rates does not increase above the level it would have been if the utility had held on to its power plants. .

Also, the commission deferred any ruling on whether Delmarva's participation in the PJM Interconnection LLC satisfies a requirement in the state's restructuring law that wires utilities must join a regional transmission group. It will consider that issue in .

Purchased Power Costs. The D.C. PSC, explaining a prior order that OK'd sales of generating plants by local utility, Potomac Electric Power Co., said it was never its intent to force the District's electric customers to buy all their energy through the PJM ISO.

"[I]t was never our intent to extend PJM's rules to local retail transactions, nor were we expressing a view that we lack authority to regulate prices in the retail market," the PSC said.

The prior order had required any plant buyer to operate the facilities in accordance with the PJM power pool rules governing reliability and market power monitoring and mitigation. .

Internet Radio Networks. The New York PSC told Con Ed to file "hybrid" tariffs for low-level electric service provided to Metricom Inc. for radio transceivers to be attached to street lights and utility poles to create a radio network for connecting consumers to the Internet.

It rejected Con Ed's proposal to bill such service under its traditional "SC2" rate for small-volume commercial customers.

Gas LDC Bypass. North Carolina regulators OK'd rates and terms for gas distribution service provided to the new 800-megawatt, gas-fired Rockingham power plant, but at the same time took a jab at the FERC for its policy of encouraging plant owners and other natural gas customers to bypass local distribution companies (LDCs) by taking service directly from interstate pipelines.

"The FERC's policy ignores an ancient and immutable law of commerce," said the state commission. "You cannot compete retail against wholesale." According to the state commission, FERC bypass "undermines" state efforts to bring gas service to unserved areas.

In the case in question, the Rockingham plant (a Dynegy affiliate) sought direct sales from Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corp., bypassing NUI North Carolina Gas (the LDC). The FERC in fact had allowed Transco to build the necessary delivery facilities, but the parties eventually settled on LDC service. .

Purchased Gas Costs. Citing an "unprecedented increase" in summer-period natural gas prices of more than $1.40 per Mcf, the Ohio PUC approved a major increase in natural gas cost recovery rates for Dayton Power & Light Co., a natural gas local distribution company. (The PUC recently had approved similar increases for two other LDCs, Cincinnati Gas & Electric and East Ohio Gas.) .

Gas Universal Service. The Pennsylvania PUC took a step in implementing the state's Natural Gas Choice and Competition Act, signed by Gov. Tom Ridge in 1999, by setting standard reporting rules for gas utility programs for universal service and energy conservation. .

Manhole Explosions. After a series of explosions that propelled manhole covers into the air on crowded