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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

Transmission Organization, alleging that Illinois Power has not shown its request to be in the public interest.

Moreover, the Illinois and Michigan regulators say it would be wrong for the FERC to decide the matter before it issues final decisions on the MISO and Alliance RTO proposals (yet to be filed under FERC Order 2000).

The two commissions urge the FERC to allow only one RTO for the Midwest region. They say FERC inaction "has led directly to the RTO disarray" plaguing the Midwest, creating "uncertainty and speculation" in the region. .

Public Power Participation. Three separate cases before the FERC raise questions concerning the rights of municipal electric utilities to join the California ISO and file tariffs for transmission service provided over their own facilities, reflecting their own transmission revenue requirements (TRR).

  • In one case, the city of Vernon has asked the FERC to give "fast-track" status to its application to join the ISO-the first-ever such application by a municipal utility-to overcome alleged foot-dragging by the ISO and its participating transmission owners (PTOs). The city said it was "concerned that the ISO may be giving existing PTOs a veto right" over its application, and suggested that the PTOs were "attempting to coerce concessions ... by way of refusing to execute a [revised] transmission control agreement." .
  • In the second case, also involving the city of Vernon, the FERC said that with minor modifications it would accept Vernon's proposed TRR and 11.6 percent return on equity, as submitted by the Vernon city council (the governmental body that sets Vernon's rates), but only because the council's TRR and ROE used rate-setting methods for transmission service comparable to methods already OK'd for Southern California Edison. Thus, the FERC explained that it was not deferring to the Vernon city council, but would reserve the right to review nonjurisdictional municipal activities whenever they affect jurisdictional ISO activities. .
  • ISO Determinations. In the third case, the FERC OK'd a California ISO tariff that would require municipal utilities either to file their own TRR with the FERC for review, or to allow the ISO's own revenue review panel, after approving the municipal TRR, to submit it to the FERC for further review and acceptance, despite the FERC's lack of jurisdiction over municipal utilities. .

State PUCs

Emergency Surcharges. Facing pressure from the state's investor-owned electric utilities to provide financial relief to stave off bankruptcies, the California PUC proposed a 90-day surcharge of 1 cent per kilowatt-hour for California electric customers, applied according to usage, predicted to boost rates by about 9 percent for residential customers, by varying amounts for the small business (7 percent), medium-sized commercial (12 percent), and large commercial and industrial classes. (15 percent). . -B.W.R.

Customer Load-Shedding. Idaho OK'd a tariff proposed by Avista Corp. for during periods of high wholesale power prices to buy back electricity from certain large customers (those with a single meter with a demand equal or greater than 3,000 kilovolt-amperes), which would reduce load voluntarily in exchange for a billing credit based on the prevailing wholesale market price.

Avista must