Sound bites from state and federal regulators.
Natural Gas Briefs
Gas Motor Vehicles. Federal appeals court revokes antitrust immunity in suit by California CNG, Inc., alleging that Southern California Gas sought to dominate gas vehicle (NGV) refueling market by offering "free or virtually free" installation and maintenance of refueling facilities for NGV fleet operators. No. 95-55806, Sept. 19, 1996, 96 F.3d 1193 (9th Cir.).
Interdepartmental Transfers. Consolidated Edison of New York, Inc., must share with ratepayers 85% of revenues from moving gas from gas department to electric utility for power generation if the gas department adds value not available in commodity markets. (Con Ed has now formed a new "Fuel Resource Section," separate from its gas utility, to obtain gas for electric generation. Case 95-G-1037, Sep. 16, 1996 (N.Y.P.S.C.).
Peak Shaving. Minnegasco (division of NorAm Energy Corp.) gains certification for a 7,000 Mcf/day peak-shaving facility, plus 12 propane storage tanks (30,000 gallons each), as a "reasonable alternative" to other resource options, such as conservation or pipeline construction. Docket No. G-008/CN-95-514, Sept. 12, 1996 (Minn.P.U.C.).
Weather Normalization. West Florida Natural Gas Co. wins go-ahead for trial rate adjustment for weather normalization; regulators say winter weather affects northern and central Florida, and note increasing interest nationwide in weather adjustments. Docket No. 960831-GU, Order No. PSC-96-1192-FOF-GU, Sept. 23, 1996 (Fl.P.S.C.).
Gas Main Replacement. Order grants gas rate hike for Public Service Co. of North Carolina, Inc., but rejects rate rider to recover gas main replacement costs, preferring to capitalize and amortize such costs, while reserving rate riders for variable or unpredictable costs. Docket No. G-5, Sub 356, Sept. 25, 1996 (N.C.U.C.).
Brokering Affiliates. Order instructs Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. to segregate operations of its brokering subsidiary to avoid any impacts on regulated distribution rates. (BG&E had recorded certain brokering expenses "above the line," as part of gas utility operations, and had shared gross profits with ratepayers through its purchased gas adjustment clause,) Case No. 8709, Order No. 72523, April 11, 1996 (Md.P.S.C.).
Contract Disclosure. Puget Sound Power and Light Co., offering a rate discount for Intel to attract a new proposed new plant in Washington State, must produce allegedly confidential data on rate concessions offered to Intel by other utilities competing for alternate sites (or discounts sought by Intel), but need not reveal rates that Intel currently pays at existing plants. Docket No. UE-960299, Aug. 1, 1996 (Wash.U.T.C.).
Appliance Promotions. Regulators ok cost recovery for five separate gas promotions for North Carolina Natural Gas Corp., including 1) education for energy buyers working for industrial customers, 2) demonstration of York Triathalon HVAC system, 3) technology development to promote high-efficiency gas equipment, 4) rebates to HVAC contractors covering some of their advertising costs, and 5) funding for trade shows, conventions, and seminars. Docket No. G-21, Sub 342 to 346, Sept. 25, 1996 (N.C.U.C.).
Appliance Services. State appeals court affirms ruling by state trade-licensing agency, in case involving Connecticut Natural Gas Corp., that employees who engage in repair and maintenance work on customer side of the gas meter must obtain a business license because work does not qualify as a regulated utility service. No. 15017, Sept. 17, 1996, 682 A.2d 547 (Conn.App.).
Rate Deaveraging. Minnesota denies request by Sherburne County Rural Telephone Co. for geographic deaveraging of local exchange telephone rates, citing commitment to universal service. and finding no need to change despite claims of emerging competition. Docket No.
P-427/M-95-1128, Sept. 11, 1996 (Minn.P.U.C.).
Cable TV Franchises. Connecticut awards statewide cable TV franchise to SNET Personal Vision, Inc., rejecting arguments that it should not depart from the existing framework of town-based franchises. Docket No. 96-01-24, Sept. 25, 1996 (Conn.D.P.U.C.).
Access Charges. Florida directs all local exchange telephone carriers who charge higher access fees for intrastate switched-access than for comparable interstate access to reduce intrastate tariffs by at least 5% per year. Interexchange carriers must pass on the savings by cutting long-distance rates. Docket No. 960910-TP, Order No. PSC-1265-FOF-TP, Oct. 8, 1996 (Fla.P.S.C.).
Prepaid Calling Cards. Florida will force certification for companies that create prepaid debit cards for long-distance telephone calling, but not for marketing agents who only distribute the cards with no control over service. Docket No. 960254-TI, Order No. PSC-96-1224-FOF-TI, Sept. 26, 1996 (Fla.P.S.C.).
Electric Unbundling. Nevada issues preliminary report on electric restructuring, noting points for further study: 1) unbundling of retail services, 2) utilities as "default" service providers, 3) cost allocation among unbundled functions, and 4) unbundling cost of capital. Docket No. 95-9022, 12th Procedural Order, Sept. 18, 1996 (Nev.P.S.C).
Gas Holding Companies. New York ok's plan to reorganize Brooklyn Union Gas Co. as subsidiary of KeySpan Energy Corp., a new holding company, subject to "sunset review," a rate cut and freeze, and customer service standards. Case 95-G-0761, Opin. No. 96-26, Sept. 26, 1996 (N.Y.P.S.C.). t
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