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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - September 1 2000
  • connections to power producers. .


Electric Reliability

Statewide Standards. Addressing power outages at Delmarva Power & Light Co. back in July 1999, the Delaware PSC declined to initiate a generic docket to consider implementing state reliability standards, but directed the staff to study and report back on "the most appropriate manner" to tackle the issue.

"[W]e do not believe that a generic proceeding involving a host of participants is the most appropriate manner in which to proceed at this point, even though the issues on a general level might be similar for all distribution companies subject to our jurisdiction," said the PSC.

Needs Forecasts . As the Wisconsin PSC on June 29 issued a draft of its "strategic energy assessment" and set a public hearing for Sept. 18 to review the draft (comments are due Sept. 28) it also found on its plate proposals for both a major power plant and a 240-mile transmission line. The draft assessment, which offered forecasts through 2002, found that while the regional bulk power market provided "an adequate and reliable" source of capacity and energy between 1995 and 1999, current needs required "further study," as energy sales in the state were growing at an annual clip of 2 percent, while no new base load generating units had achieved commercial operation since 1985. See www.psc. .

Previously, on June 12 the PSC had issued its final environmental impact statement on the 1,050-MW natural gas-fired, combined-cycle power plant proposed to be built by Badger Generating Co. LLC in either Pleasant Prairie or Sturtevant, finding no major environmental concerns for either site. If approved, the facility would be the state's first true wholesale merchant plant that is not dependent on any preexisting power purchase arrangements with public utilities. .

Meanwhile, the Citizens Utility Board, a consumer advocate group, has come out against a proposed 240-mile transmission line that would connect Minnesota Power Co.'s Arrowhead substation, near Duluth, Minn., to Wisconsin Public Service Corp.'s Weston substation near Wausau, Wis. A May 2000 draft environmental impact statement for that project is available at



Standard Offer Prices. The Maryland Court of Appeals on July 20 lifted a stay in force since June 30 that had put electric retail choice on hold for Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. owing to claims by the Mid-Atlantic Power Supply Association that standard offer prices for the BG&E territory were set too low to allow other suppliers to compete.

Railroad Mergers. A federal appeals court upheld a move by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to place a 15-month moratorium on the filing of applications for railroad mergers. The STB said it needed time in a changing world to revaluate its methods for analyzing effects on competition and the public interest. .

Charitable Contributions. A New Jersey court upheld a state PUC ruling that allowed a water utility to bill ratepayers for 50 percent of its charitable contributions.

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