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News Digest

Dynegy's David Francis, vice president for western power trading, testified on Dec. 21 on why he thought the ISO was bending the rules:
Fortnightly Magazine - February 1 2001

post buyback prices on the Internet. And a "most-favored-nation" clause ensures customers that shed load will receive the highest price paid on the same day to other shedding customers, if market prices fluctuate within a 24-hour period. .

Meanwhile, Kaiser Aluminum decided in December to shut down its operations and temporarily lay off its 400 workers, in order to take the cheap electric power it contracted from the Bonneville Power Administration at $22.50 per megawatt-hour and resell it on the open market at prices ranging from 875 to $1,000 per megawatt-hour. Kaiser said it would pay 70 percent of salaries to idled employees. -L.A.B.

Demand Response. New York instructed each of the state's electric distribution utilities to report back on plans and to establish certain minimum programs to help customers adjust demand in response to electricity market prices, including tariffs for voluntary real-time (hourly) pricing and emergency load curtailment, plus initiatives to accelerate installation of interval metering. . -B.W.R.

Electric Retail Choice. Virginia asked for comments on a report by its staff that recommends (despite disagreement from Dominion Virginia Power) a "flash-cut" instead of a phased-in transition to retail electric choice, which by state law must begin by Jan. 1, 2002 and must be available to all retail customers by Jan. 1, 2005 at the very latest. . -B.W.R.

Distributed Generation. Texas released a draft of its proposed Distributed Generation Interconnection Manual, governing applications to connect distributed generation resources to the power grid. The philosophy behind the manual is that distributed resources "will and should be an integral" part of the Texas electric supply system. . -L.A.B.

Nuclear Decommissioning. Illinois ruled that nuclear decommissioning trust funds must be segregated by plant, so that any funds left over from decommissioning a specific plant must be refunded immediately to customers, rather than pooled with funds accumulated to decommission the owner's other nuclear plants, as proposed by Commonwealth Edison Co.

The commission also turned aside a request by Edison to speed up collection of decommissioning funds for nuclear plants proposed to be transferred to Exelon Genco, an unregulated affiliate. . -B.W.R.

Gas Marketer Incentives. As an incentive to jumpstart competitive retail natural gas service for customers of Brooklyn Union and KeySpan Gas East, New York OK'd a rebate to competitive gas retailers of 8 percent of the gas delivery charge. The commission said the rebate would provide at least some temporary recognition that present gas transportation rates include some merchant function costs that are borne also by competitive retailers. . -B.W.R.

Standard Offer Rates. Citing "inadequate bids" because of price spikes in New England power markets, Maine terminated the formal bid process to select standard-offer electricity suppliers for Central Maine Power and Bangor Hydro, and instead told the two utilities to seek out regulated transmission and distribution utilities to serve as standard-offer suppliers.

In a companion order, the PUC amended the standard-offer prices for medium- and large-volume non-residential customers classes served by CMP, to reflect additional costs incurred by the utility to meet its prospective obligation to supply capacity for the installed capacity (ICAP) market