Bruce W. Radford
PLANS OK'D for electric IOUs under New York's Competitive Opportunities docket.
CENTRAL HUDSON GAS & ELECTRIC CORP. RETAIL CHOICE: Offered to 8 percent of total load in 1998; additional 8 percent each year; choice for all by July 1, 2001. SAVINGS: $10.5 million to fund 5-percent rate cut for large industrials; all other rates frozen (since 1993) through June 30, 2001. Earmarks $24.5 million for incentives for residential, commercial and small industrial classes. Generation backout rate is highest among IOU restructuring plans.
Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross, and Beth Lewis
NITROGEN-OXIDE EMISSION LIMITS. Denying an appeal by electric utilities and industry groups against rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for emission limits for nitrogen oxides at certain electric utility boilers, a federal appeals court has ruled that EPA properly interpreted the Clean Air Act. The act allows EPA to set NOx limits for certain electric utility boilers if it could show that more effective technology for low-NOx burners was available, the court said.
Bruce W. Radford
CALIFORNIA IS AT IT AGAIN. THE SUBJECT IS NATURAL GAS. What the "blue book" promised for electricity, the newly issued "green book" says it will do for gas.
On Jan. 21, the Division of Strategic Planning at the state public utilities commission issued a new 125-page study, Strategies for Natural Gas Reform: Exploring Options for Converging Energy Markets. On the same day, the PUC opened a new rulemaking (R. 98-01-011), asking for input on the DSP report and posing its own list of some 25 questions on where to go with gas.
THE RESIDENTIAL MARKET STANDS AS THE NEXT FRONTIER for natural gas unbundling. In California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, states have introduced pilot programs and other unbundling efforts to target residential gas consumers. %n1%n
These efforts are hardly surprising. The residential market, presently dominated by the regulated local distribution companies, appears lucrative. In 1995, the residential sector of the U.S.
Joseph F. Schuler Jr.
THE POWER PLANTS OF AT LEAST FIVE UTILITIES IN NEW England and California get swapped this year for more than $5.3 billion. And happily, those holding bonds on the plants will be given cash for their coupons.
These utilities (see sidebar, "Going Once, Going Twice¼ Sold!") can expect their credit ratings to remain firm or even jump (em although that's debated by analysts. Such improved ratings may surprise market observers led to believe that loss of utility collateral would hurt investment grades.
Competition draws Christians, conspiracy theorists.
SO, WHO WANTS TO COMPETE AGAINST THE LOCAL UTILITIES? In most of the country, potential competitors tend to fall into three categories: (1) traditional utilities from within or nearby the affected state that wants to expand into foreign service territories; (2) unregulated subsidiaries of traditional utilities; or (3) power marketers and/or aggregators. In California, however, it's more of a mixed bag.
Former Sen. Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.) has joined the PacifiCorp board of directors. Simpson retired from the Senate earlier this year after serving three terms. Also at PacifiCorp, Dennis Steinberg, a senior v.p., was named head of global energy sales, marketing and trading. John Bohling, another senior v.p., will direct customer service, among other activities. Mike Henderson will head a new group for international business, technology and planning.
John M. Deutch has returned as a member of the CMS Energy Corp. Board of Directors. Deutch served on the board from 1986 to 1993.
William G. Shepherd
Flexible prices make markets hum,
but discounts discriminate when monopolies rule.
Many expect that the electricity industry is moving inexorably toward a much-publicized "new competitive era." Companies, regulatory officials and experts all regard the momentum as powerful.
So far, the changes are just beginning, and there is a long way to go to reach fully effective competition. %n1%n Yet even at this early stage, the merger and pricing strategies adopted by the established electric firms may be threatening the prospects for competition.
American National Power announced three executive changes: Joseph E. Cofelice, senior v.p., was given the added post of COO; Jim Murray, senior v.p., was given additional duties of CFO; and David L. Coke, director-asset optimization, was promoted to operations v.p.
Peter W. Delaney, a cost-cutting commissioner in the New York Office of General Services, was appointed senior v.p.-business services at the New York Power Authority. The Authority also promoted Gerard V. Loughran, a principal attorney, to v.p.-human resources.
The Institute of Gas Technology (IGT) elected Roger A.
Marc W. Chupka, former special assistant to Energy Secretary Hazel R. O'Leary, has been promoted to acting assistant secretary for policy. He replaces Dan Reicher, now O'Leary's chief of staff. Melanie A. Kenderline was appointed deputy assistant secretary for House liaison in the office of congressional, public, and intergovernmental affairs.
MidCon Corp.'s president and CEO, John F. Riordan, was elected chair of the Gas Research Institute, succeeding Thomas L. Fisher of Northern Illinois Gas Co.