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News Digest

PUC Oversight: Panacea or New Problem?
Fortnightly Magazine - October 1 2000

and Maine Public Service Co. to reduce charges for distribution service to offset any increases in their retail transmission rates imposed by federal regulation, since the FERC now asserts jurisdiction over the transmission component of retail service in states where retail electric competition has forced an unbundling of services.

The offset will be accomplished without harm to the utilities' financial situation by accelerating the amortization or value contained in existing asset sale gain accounts. .

Gas Price Volatility. Noting recent increases in natural gas price volatility, the Michigan PSC OK'd a plan by Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. to reduce the waiting period from five years to one year before large- and small-volume transportation customers can apply to return to traditional bundled retail service. .

Consumer Education. The Texas PUC OK'd an education plan with a $12 million first-year budget to help electric utility customers understand the state's retail choice plan. .


Business Wire

FriedWire Inc. , a recently formed Internet company serving the electric power industry, has announced its first round of financing, receiving a significant investment from Enercap Associates LLC , a Boulder-based venture capital fund. "FriedWire's vision is to improve the functioning of the electric power marketplace through Web-based, real-time information on fundamental market forces," said FriedWire founder Bill Townsend, who left Resource Data International to found FriedWire in 1999. FriedWire planned to release its first product, the Traffic Report, this summer.

Investors have begun trading Xcel Energy Inc. stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol XEL, signaling the official start for the new company, formed by the $8.5 billion merger of Minneapolis-based Northern States Power and Denver-based New Century Energies . The Securities and Exchange Commission approved the merger on Aug. 17.

Dominion Retail , an energy retailer that provides natural gas and electricity as well as other products and services, has selected Peace Software International 's Energy software for energy customer management. The company needed to acquired an e-commerce energy customer management solution capable of rapid, scalable market entry in order to achieve its customer growth plan of extending its stronghold in the Mid-Atlantic region over the next two to three years. Nordic Electric LLC , the largest independent, non-utility retail power provider in Michigan, also has selected Peace International's Energy software.

Fieldstone has announced the completion of the sale of Johannesburg's Metro Gas to Cinergy Global Power Inc. and its local Black economic empowerment partners. Fieldstone acted as the exclusive financial advisor to the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council for the utility privatization and is also advising the council on the privatization of its electricity generation assets. Metro Gas distributes natural gas to some 50,000 industrial and residential customers in the Johannesburg region. Mincom Inc. , a provider of enterprise application solutions for asset-intensive industries, and CES International , a provider of operations resource management software for utilities, have announced their strategic alliance. The relationship provides for international business development as well as the development of integration between CES International's Centricity operations resource management systems and Mincom's Ellipse enterprise applications solutions.

Studies & Reports