Calendar of Events

Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL
Sep 29, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Michigan State University, Lansing MI
Oct 01, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Washington, DC

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Public Utilities Reports

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Pyramid Schemes A Black Eye for Power Retailing?

David Soyka

ON MARCH 26, JUST BEFORE IT OPENED THE STATE'S electricity market at midnight on the 31st, the California Public Utilities Commission announced new interim rules to protect consumers, plus this warning: "Any entity who is considering doing anything contrary to [state law] regarding electric restructuring, and [this] decision adopting such safeguards, should think twice."

Ostensibly, that advice followed from last year's passage of State S.B.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, and Phillip S. Cross

POWER PLANT SALE. Central Maine Power Co. has agreed to

sell its hydroelectric, fossil and biomass power plants totaling 1,185-MW of generating capacity to FPL Group, the holding company of Florida Power and Light. The sale price of $846 million exceeds book value and could permit up to a 10-percent rate cut for customers by the end of the year.

OHIO/TEXAS DEAL. Ohio-based American Electric Power

Co. and Texas-based Central and South West Corp. on Dec.

News Digest

Federal Agencies

Nuclear Plant Fines. The Nuclear Regulatory Commis-

sion has proposed fines totaling $2.1 million against Northeast Nuclear Energy Co. for many violations at the company's Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford, Conn. The fine marks the largest civil penalty ever proposed by the NRC. Northeast Utilities said it will pay the fine, which it called "a necessary and important step toward bringing to closure a very disappointing and difficult chapter in the company's history." The utility said it will not pass the cost onto ratepayers.

Electric Futures.

Kilowatts by Choice, Ready or Not

Lori M. Rodgers

A state-by-state look at retail competition.

RHODE ISLAND'S CUSTOMER CHOICE PROGRAM FOR LARGE-industrial and government consumers is five months old. California consumers will see retail choice on Jan. 1. New York, Illinois, Idaho and Washington have pilot programs well under way. And a statewide pilot program was set to begin this month in Pennsylvania.

Yet retail choice may prove vulnerable in New Hampshire (em the one state that has shown the greatest commitment to retail choice.

Spectrum Auctions at the FCC: A Lesson for Utilities?

Shirley S. Fujimoto, and Christine M. Gill

When the fanfare dies down, winners face the same challenge as with any new start-up but may enjoy more options than incumbent licensees.

The Federal Communications Commission's auctions of spectrum should concern two types of energy utilities: those who participate in the auctions and those who don't.

Initially, these auctions were viewed as a spectacular new regulatory tool (em able to raise billions of dollars for the public, without troubling the overburdened taxpayer. As of late, however, a dark side has emerged. Bidders have cried fraud.

Utilities to Settle Merger Termination Suit

Lori A. Burkhart

Central and South West Corp. has settled its pending litigation with El Paso Electric Co., resolving issues surrounding the 1993 termination of their proposed merger.

Central and South West will pay El Paso Electric $35 million, while both utilities have agreed to release all future claims against each other. In April, a bankruptcy judge ruled that Central and South West owed El Paso Electric a $25-million merger termination fee under their agreement, and said Central and South West also might owe an additional $18 million in interest.

The Wires Charge: Risk and Rates for the Regulated Distributor

Michael T. Maloney, Robert E. McCormick, & Cleve B. Tyler

Open-access tariffs hold the key to capturing the gains promised by electric restructuring.

In a restructured electric industry, unbundling the cost of the wires from power generation may well prove more important than dealing with stranded costs. In fact, stranded costs eventually will take care of themselves, whether by direct recovery, indirect recovery or no recovery. Without proper unbundling, however, a restructured industry could force competitors to pay inflated access fees to the distribution utility.

The matter has drawn a lot of attention.

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

Overseas Investment. Michigan certifies plan by Consumers Electric and Gas Co. to bid on the outstanding equity of three electric distribution companies being privatized in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Case No. U-11331, April 14, 1997 (Mi.P.S.C.).

Appliance Repair Rates. New Jersey OKs rates for Public Service Electric and Gas Co.

Duff & Phelps Notes Aggregator's Role in Securitization

Lori A. Burkhart

Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co. has released a report advising that a properly structured plan for securitization of stranded utility investment should address third-party credit risk.

Stranded Cost Recovery: A Practical Argument for Utilities

Charles E. Bayless

A recent conversation:

"When was the demise of the regulatory bargain? What you say is true, but at some point you had to know the bargain was over."

(em A state utility commissioner

"Beats me, it doesn't seem to be over yet. The electric industry still has a duty to serve all customers, and it must charge below-market rate confiscatory for many of our services because of the regulatory bargain.

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