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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - April 1 2001

capacity by both distribution utilities and competitive marketers. .-B.W.R.

Ancillary Generation Services. Citing conflicts with theory on electric restructuring, New York rejected a proposal by Strategic Power Management Inc., to set up a pilot program within Orange & Rockland's PowerPick Plus Program for customer choice that would recover ancillary services (regulation, load following, etc.) through delivery charges paid to utilities, rather than through the electric commodity charge controlled by competitive retail power suppliers..-B.W.R.

Negotiated Contract Rates. New York agreed to calculate its minimum floor for retail electric rates negotiated individually by contract on an annual basis, rather than monthly, as before, so as to mitigate effects of price volatility. The floor equals marginal costs (the calculation) plus one cent per kilowatt-hour. .-B.W.R.

Other February Orders.

  • Florida. Opened rulemaking docket to set new standard for accuracy of natural gas meters..
  • Maine. Opened rulemaking to create statewide, needs-based assistance program for low-income electric customers. .
  • Massachusetts. Opened docket to develop generic terms and conditions for advanced metering services by electric utilities. .
  • Michigan. Adopted guidelines proposed by staff and orders all electric utilities to develop standards for interconnection of merchant generating plants to regulated transmission and distribution systems. .
  • Michigan. Opened docket to hear request by advocacy group to block move by Detroit Edison to transfer all grid assets to its affiliate, International Transmission Co., or else force utility to remove all transmission costs from retail electric rates. .
  • North Carolina. Asked for staff proposal and public comments to develop policy on what evidence to require for certification of new "merchant" power plants. .
  • North Carolina. Opened case to study possible voluntary check-off options on energy bills for customers to designate funding support for green power and public benefit programs. .
  • Oregon. Opened docket to set legal standards for merger approval. .
  • Virginia. Set hearing for Oct. 1 on request by Virginia Power to form separate generating subsidiary. Asked for cost estimate to "better understand" the transaction..-B.W.R.

Courts

Ferc Order 888. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the case of a federal appeals court decision (225 F.3d 667, Nov. 14, 2000) that upheld FERC 888. The high court will review the FERC's interpretation of conflicting state and federal jurisdiction over electric transmission. .-B.W.R.

Non-profit Solicitations. A North Carolina appeals court denied standing to the Gas Research Institute to ask the state utility commission to authorize local gas utilities to make voluntary contributions for research and development. .-B.W.R.

Gas Storage Certification. Reversing and remanding a trial order by a federal district court judge, a U.S. federal appeals court ruled that where the operator of a natural gas storage facility had already obtained certification from the FERC, the operator had standing to seek an injunction against a state environmental board on the ground that federal law preempted any additional state permitting process. .-L.A.B.


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