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Commission Watch

Is the "pathway concept" the answer to Virginia's qualms?
Fortnightly Magazine - July 1 2003

commission's request for dismissal based on its new state law, as well as Virginia's claim that it cannot decide on allowing AEP to join PJM until FERC has issued its SMD rulemaking. FERC said the filings "are validly before the commission, and we are accepting these filings under the FPA, and are not determining the effect of state law." FERC said it found no reason to delay AEP's and ComEd's entry into PJM until it completes its SMD rulemaking.

Michigan May Mandate RTO Membership for AEP Subsidiary

Taking the opposite view from Virginia, the Michigan Public Service Commission is irate that AEP subsidiary Indiana Michigan Power Co. (IMP) has not yet joined an RTO or any FERC-approved transmission entity. On May 28 it directed the utility to file a report by June 30, 2003, on the status of it compliance with section 10w of the state's 2000 restructuring act requiring each investor-owned utility in Michigan to join either an RTO or other multi-state transmission entity.

On April 16, the PSC had issued an order asking IMP to show cause by May 17 why it had not violated section 10w. IMP answered and pointed to the development and subsequent collapse of a stand-alone RTO by the Alliance companies, which include AEP. IMP also said it encountered added obstacles to complying with section 10w and asked that it not be penalized.

The PSC, in its May 28 order, said it believes IMP has had adequate time to comply with the law, and the commission directed it to report on why it should not be found in violation of section 10w and be penalized, which includes being ordered to join a multi-state RTO mandated by the commission. (Case No. U-13360, May 28, 2003, Mich. P.S.C.) -L.A.B.

In Brief . . .

Pennsylvania: Rate Cap Expiration Awaited

PPL Corp., an electric utility serving much of central Pennsylvania, will seek a rate increase to take effect as soon as its restructuring plan rate cap expires on Jan 1, 2005. The announcement adds to the debate over the success of the Pennsylvania electric restructuring program, and it follows a recent decision by the state PUC to require assignment of customers to competitive power providers in the Philadelphia area in order to boost market development. Up to this point, the PUC has maintained that the move to a competitive market has aided consumers across the state by keeping rates low. PPL would be the first utility to seek an increase in regulated distribution rates since the initiation of the restructuring experiment in 1997.-P.C.

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