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Oct 27, 2014 to Oct 31, 2014 | Clearwater Beach, FL
Nov 05, 2014 to Nov 06, 2014 | Las Vegas, Nevada
Nov 10, 2014 to Nov 12, 2014 | Toronto, Canada

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bankruptcy

Columbia Gas Settles Class Action Suits

Lori A. Burkhart

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Farnan, Jr. on October 16 approved a $36.5-million settlement resolving class action lawsuits alleging securities laws violations against the bankrupt Columbia Gas System (CGS).The lawsuits were filed by various security holders against CGS, its independent public accountants, the underwriters of its 1990 stock offering, and certain officers and directors. CGS's portion of the settlement amounts to $16.5 million, with the remainder shared among the insurance carriers of various defendants.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

John Anderson is jumping out of his shoes. And his socks, too. His group, the Electricity Consumers Resource Council (ELCON, where Anderson serves as executive director) may at last get its way.During a few weeks in October, a good half-dozen energy industry players (em including utilities and regulators (em came out in favor of customer choice for electric and gas service.

The Color of Just Compensation

William D. Grand

Government agencies sometimes condemn privately owned operating utilities for their own use. Water companies, landfills, hydroelectric plants, and transportation lines are examples.

But these cases pose a problem: How to measure "just compensation," especially when regulators set the rates charged (and profits earned) by a privately owned utility at artificially low levels, even when the commodity is scarce and the need for the service high.

Perspective

Audrie Krause

California regulators and the utilities they oversee have been talking a lot in recent years about competition. But just being able to "talk the talk" isn't enough (em utility companies and the regulators who monitor them have got to "walk the walk." And on that score, they've just barely begun to crawl. Despite all the marketing hype, the monopoly mindset is still very apparent among industry officials and regulators.Take California's energy industry, for example.

Cajun Conflict Continues

Lori A. Burkhart

Cajun Electric Cooperative has lost its request with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for an emergency stay of the appointment of a trustee in bankruptcy. Cajun had claimed a conflict of interest because the proposed trustee, Ralph Maybe, belongs to the Salt Lake City law office of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & McRae, which worked for Entergy and Gulf States Utilities Co. (GSU) on matters concerning the River Bend nuclear plant. Entergy and GSU have been involved in a $2-billion lawsuit with Cajun over the plant since 1989.

U.S.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

On the morning after Labor Day, back from one last beach fling, Wall Street Journal assistant features editor Max Boot published an editorial castigating California Gov. Pete Wilson for his alleged failure to "take a stand" on electric deregulation in the Golden State ("California's Governor isn't Plugged into Deregulation Debate," Sept. 5, 1995, p. A15). "There's a leadership vacuum here," writes Boot. "Governor Wilson is partly responsible for the problem ... he appointed Mr. Fessler and the other PUC members.

Gas Roundup

Phillip S. Cross

While setting a new gas cost adjustment rate for Delmarva Power & Light Co., a combined electric and gas utility, the Delaware Public Service Commission (PSC) found the utility's unaccounted-for-gas incentive program unnecessary because it had accomplished its objective, as evidenced by a steady decline in the rate of unaccounted-for gas. The PSC approved a $300,000 incentive award for the current adjustment. Re Delmarva Power & Light Co., PSC Dkt. No. 94-123F, March 21, 1995 (Del.P.S.C.).In another case, the PSC allowed Chesapeake Utilities Corp.

Beleaguered Columbia Gas Settles, Waits

Lori A. Burkhart

The Columbia Gas System, Inc. (CGS) has reached an agreement, in principle, resolving the class action lawsuits alleging securities law violations following CGS's June 1991 major charge against earnings and the suspension of its common stock dividend. Those lawsuits were filed against CGS, certain officers and directors, the company's independent public accountants, and the underwriters for the company's 1990 common stock offering. The CGS portion of the proposed $36.5-million settlement would be $16.5 million. The remainder would be shared among the other defendants.

Columbia Gas Bankruptcy Moves Forward

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved an uncontested settlement for bankrupt Columbia Gas Transmission Corp. (CGT), resolving over 100 FERC proceedings and over 40 court appeals (Docket Nos. GP94-2-003 et al.). The settlement addresses CGT's recovery of costs associated with its former merchant function. It also settles customer claims in CGT's bankruptcy proceeding, subject to bankruptcy court approval.

Merger Terminated: Chess Game Contines

Lori A. Burkhart

Central and South West Corp. notified bankrupt El Paso Electric Co. (EPE) on June 9 that it has terminated the companies' proposed merger. CSW had informed EPE on May 23 that it had breached the merger agreement by participating in discussions about and spending large sums on a possible stand-alone reorganization plan.

The CSW board of directors rejected EPE's request to extend the merger agreement for six months until December 8.

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