The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) has rejected a request by Duke Power Co. to recover as a cost of fuel some 90 percent of the price of bulk power purchased from Enron Power Marketing, Inc.
Instead, it allowed Duke to recover only 59 percent Enron purchases, the level of fuel costs Enron could verify by directly contacting the generating utilities. Nevertheless, it said it would not accept "hearsay" evidence on the share of costs attributable to fuel. It also noted that a disallowance might affect Duke's future decisions about buying low-cost power, and cautioned management against making dispatch decisions based on the outcome of the case.
Under state rules, a utility may recover only the actual fuel portion of purchased-power costs through its automatic adjustment clause. Duke had defended its 90-percent figure as a general estimate of total production costs applied to fuel "when Enron makes purchases and resells it." Re Duke Power Co., Dkt. No. E-7, Sub 575, June 21, 1996 (N.C.U.C.).
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