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Commission Watch

PJM/Midwest Market:
Fortnightly Magazine - December 2004

for upgrading regional power grid to accommodate sources of renewable energy to comply with a state law passed in 2002 that mandates a one-percent-per-year increase in renewable energy portfolios maintained by public utilities.

Gas Supply Risk. Regulators in Virginia were checking whether to allow Washington Gas Light to reclaim gas customers that had chosen competitive retail service from Metromedia Energy Inc. or to demand a larger security deposit from MME, to cover risk from higher futures prices and MME's increased share of the utility's design-day load.

Fuel Cost Hedging. Georgia PSC rules that Savannah Elec. & Power no longer needs any special financial incentive to operate its fuel cost hedging program, decides to flow fuel cost savings from hedging activities to ratepayers, ending prior practice of sharing 25% of such gains with company shareholders.

Utility Supply Solicitations. Ohio PUC OK's bidding process for FirstEnergy subsidiary Ohio Edison to solicit offers from power producers for energy supply, to assemble standard-offer portfolios for default retail customers. PUC appoints Charles River Associates to help analyze bids. No single bidder can win right to supply more than 65 percent of utility load.

Provider of Last Resort (POLR). The Pennsylvania PUC OK's three-year term with fixed prices for a POLR tariff for Duquesne Light, citing as irrelevant the utility's claim that it needed a six-year term to cut risk to help its unregulated affiliate buy the Sunbury plant.

Coal Seam Gas. Utah Public Service Commission (PSC) orders Questar Gas to refund some $25 million collected from customers to cover the cost of processing coal-seam gas produced near Price, Utah, saying that the gas was incompatible with appliances and posed a danger to retail customers.

Deceptive Marketing Practices. Illinois Commerce Commission rules that private natural gas retailer Peoples Energy Services Corp. violated state law by inviting customers to lock in a fixed price (62 cents per therm) for more than a year, while reserving the right at any time to send a "pricing notice" to customers with a new higher rate that would be binding absent the customer's written objection within days.

Renewable Portfolio Standards. New Jersey BPU ok's a financing arrangement with the PJM RTO to develop and implmement a Generator Attributes Tracking System (GATS) to identify qualifying resources and verify compliance with state programs to promote renewable energy.

Retail Electric Competition. Citing significant market power in wholesale power supply, plus a dearth of alternative retail electric vendors, utility regulators in Virginia in a report to the governor (Sept. 1, 2004) questioned whether retail electric competition can bring lower power prices to consumers than would have been the case under traditional regulation.

Promotional Utility Advertising. The Maine PUC dismissed a customer complaint that Central Maine Power's campaign of promoting the use of electric-consuming appliances violated the public interest by increasing environmental degradation and domestic dependence on foreign oil.


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