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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - April 1 2001

Natural Gas Inc. for the co-development, marketing and sale of the World Wireless embedded X-traWeb technology to selected gas distribution customers of Texaco Natural Gas. Under the terms of the agreement, X-traWeb and Texaco Natural Gas have committed to the development and sale of natural gas metering equipment for use by natural gas distributors, resellers, and gas service providers.

edocs, a provider of Internet billing and customer management solutions, has announced its support for Siebel Systems Inc.'s eCommunications 2000.3 and eEnergy 2000.3, a family of eBusiness applications software designed specifically for the communications and energy industries. Siebel eCommunications and eEnergy allow organizations to manage, synchronize, and coordinate all customer touchpoints including the Web, call center, field organization, and distribution channels.-C.J. L.

Power Plants

Vermont Yankee Plant. Finding the price too low to reflect fair market value, the Vermont Public Service Board rejected the deal for Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. (which provides one-third of all power used in Vermont), to sell its namesake nuclear plant to AmerGen Energy Co., and dismissed the application to allow the owner "to reevaluate its decision to sell the station." It acted after Entergy Nuclear Corp. offered on Jan. 12 to pay $50 million, more than double AmerGen's November offer of $23.8 million. AmerGen upped its bid to $51.5 million on Jan. 22, but that did not sway the board, which concluded that "this bid demonstrates a value for Vermont Yankee that is significantly in excess of AmerGen's second proposal." .-B.W.R.

Need Determinations. The Florida PSC found need for capacity to justify the Brandy Branch (three gas turbines, each rated at about 173 megawatts) proposed by JEA (formerly Jacksonville Electric Authority), based on the utility's proposed 15 percent reserve margin criterion. .-B.W.R.

Merchant Plant Certification. Florida regulators also issued its final order certifying need for the 529-megawatt Osprey merchant generating plant proposed jointly by Calpine and Seminole Electric Co-op. to get around the state's requirements for competitive alternative bids and its policy that need must be shown through an obligation to serve. .-B.W.R.

State PUCs

Competitive Metering. New York adopted its final practices and procedures manual to govern competitive electric metering. Among other points, it adopted policies to require that:

  • Customers may choose whether to contract directly with a Meter Service Provider (MSP) or Meter Data Service Provider (MDSP), rather than indirectly through the utility or the retail energy supply company (ESCO), which in turn would deal with the MSP or MDSP.
  • Direct customers who buy power in wholesale markets and serve as their own retail supplier perform their own MSP or MDSP functions, but may purchase metering services from either ESCOs or utilities.
  • Large-volume time-of-use customers may continue to own their own meters (though the regulators understood that no eligible customer had ever chosen that option). .-B.W.R.

Natural Gas Unbundling. Connecticut regulators rejected a petition by the state's consumer counsel to open a docket to study issues arising from competitive natural gas service, including (1) shifting of costs, (2) supplier of last resort, and (3) methods to reduce need for redundant purchases of firm pipeline