Carmen Ana Cintron was named an administrative law judge at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Cintron previously served as Hearing Office chief administrative law judge in the Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Social Security Administration in Chamblee, Ga.
Unicom Corp. appointed Elizabeth Anne "Betsy" Moler senior vice president for federal government affairs. Moler, an attorney in private practice in Washington, D.C., is a former FERC chair. Upon completion of Unicom's merger with PECO Energy, she will head the combined company's Washington office.
Gas Retail Rate Design. In a move toward equalizing rates of return between customer classes, the Oregon PUC authorized Northwest Natural Gas Co. to increase base rates by nearly $246,000, at the same time boosting residential rates by 1.3 percent but lowering rates for large commercial and industrial users. It set return on equity at 10.25 percent, finding the rate "consistent with the downward trend of ROEs authorized by other regulatory commissions." Order No. 99-697, Nov. 12, 1999 (Ore.P.U.C.).
Mergers & Acquisitions
Joint Ventures. The Federal Trade Commission, in consultation with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, issued draft antitrust guidelines for "collaborations among competitors" that will apply to a wide range of joint ventures and strategic alliances other than actual mergers.
Such collaborations would include R&D efforts, information sharing and joint efforts in marketing, distribution, sales or purchasing, plus various types of trade association activities. File No. 971201, Oct. 1, 1999 (F.T.C.), published at 64 Fed. Reg.
Cinergy Corp. named Sherrie N. Rutherford vice president of special projects for Cinergy Services Inc. Rutherford formerly served as vice president and general counsel for the pipeline group and trading operations, and associate general counsel for Reliant Energy Wholesale Group.
Philip R. Sharp, a former Indiana Congressman, will serve as advisor on consumer choice and energy deregulation at Columbia Energy Group. Sharp is a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a member of the U.S. Secretary of Energy's Advisory Board.
Commissioner Lauren "Bubba" McDonald of the Georgia Public Service Commission was appointed to a three-year term on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' (NARUC) Committee on Electricity.
Peabody Group named Jiri Nemec, previously group executive of Northern Appalachian operations, group executive of Midwest operations. Nemec replaced Mathew A. Haaga, who resigned. James A. Beck Jr., previously group executive of Southern Appalachian operations, was appointed to oversee all of Peabody's Appalachian operations in West Virginia.
Gas Capacity Rights. The New York PSC told retail suppliers that to serve firm retail gas load they must have rights to firm, non-recallable, primary delivery point pipeline capacity for the five winter months, November through March, or else must augment secondary capacity with a standby charge payable to local distribution companies holding primary rights.
Stephen W. Bergstrom was named president and chief operating officer of Dynegy Inc. Bergstrom formerly was president and COO of Dynegy Marketing and Trade and senior vice president of Dynegy Inc.
Texas-New Mexico Power Co. promoted Robert E. Castillo to vice president and regional customer officer for its Mountain Region. Castillo, formerly assistant vice president-New Mexico, replaces Allan Davis, who retired after 34 years with TNMP.
William W. Schivley was named president of Select Energy, Northeast Utilities System's marketing affiliate.
Lori A. Burkhart, and Regina R. Johnson
Online services are popping up - for commodity trading, retail marketing and back-office billing. But is the Web right for every application?
A recent study by Connecticut-based META Group Inc. finds that while less than 5 percent of all utility commerce will be conducted electronically in 1999, 30 percent of customer service and retail bill payments will flow over the Internet by 2004. That prediction highlights a torrent of Web activity in recent months, from power trading online to retail solicitations to electronic customer billing and payment.
News Digest was compiled by Carl J. Levesque, editorial assistant, Lori A. Burkhart, contributing legal editor, and Bruce W. Radford, editor. For continual news updates, see www.pur.com.Nuclear Power
Transmission & ISOs
Transco Independence. Granting Entergy's request for a declaratory order, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled in a case of first impression that a stand-alone transmission company ("transco") would meet the test in Order 888 for independent system operators despite passive ownership by a power producer or other market participant.
Carl J. Levesque, Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis
Studies & Reports
Year 2000 Readiness. On Jan. 11 the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) predicted a minimal effect on electric system operations from Y2K software problems. The Department of Energy, which had asked NERC to run the electric industry assessment, added that 98 percent of U.S.