By unbundling usage from access, utilities can maximize contribution to margin and yet still retain load.
With deregulation and industry restructuring, energy utilities face price competition from marketers, brokers, independent producers and even other utilities. To succeed in this environment, utilities will need to develop innovative pricing strategies that better meet customer needs and respond more effectively to competition. The common response by utilities to competition calls for price discounting to retain "at risk"
"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.
Touted as a panacea for stranded costs, securitization would forever shield rates from market scrutiny.
We consumers display an amazing talent to squander the fruits of our labor on the whim of the moment. Examples might include bungee jumping, vanity license plates or pet rocks. Or just about anything you might find in a magazine stuffed in the back of an airline seat.
Now make way for electric utility restructuring, where the latest fashion calls for securitization of uneconomic costs.
Ask this question: Are Investors today earning what they thought they would, back when they last had faith in regulation?
As their customers discover more competitive prices, many utilities remain saddled with the costs of uneconomic plant and power purchase contracts approved under regulation. They seek compensation for these costs, but the amount deserves a close examination.
Some utilities seek remuneration that exceeds the market value of their common stock. Such a settlement seems overly generous for investors, who will continue to own their shares after the payoff.
New legislation would tackle the most difficult problem (em low load factors for small-volume customers.
We commend the Natural Gas Competition and Deregulation Act, SB 215, passed by the Georgia General Assembly in March. (Governor Zell Miller was expected to sign the bill in April.) The Georgia legislation envisions a new framework for regulating the retail gas market.
Sound bites from state and federal regulators. Gas Load Building. Finding no protest from electric utilities, North Carolina waives requirements for preliminary cost-benefit analysis and approves incentive programs for Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc., designed to boots gas load by installing commercial gas cooking equipment at community colleges for use in culinary degree programs. Commission tells company to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis as soon as it can gather the necessary data from actual operating experience. Docket No. G-9, Sub 377, Jan. 31, 1997 (N.C.U.C.).
To predict the Clinton Administration's next step is foolhardy. And when it comes to the first federal restructuring bill, it's riskier still to rely on drafts that apparently were leaked to gauge reactions of the energy industry and media.
"There have been a gazillion versions of the bill which have been prepared," says a Department of Energy official.
AT&T and U S WEST scored points with investors, but PacTel's AirTouch deal failed to move the market.ell before the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was signed, it had become abundantly clear to telephone companies that they would need to change their organizational or corporate structures to keep pace with the changing business and regulatory climate.
The question, however, was how to make that structural change pay off on Wall Street (em how to use the reorganizati
LDC Certificates. North Carolina assigns currently unfranchised natural gas service territories. Awards certificates of public convenience and necessity. Docket No. G-100, Sub 69, Aug. 16, 1996 (N.C.U.C. 1996).
Externality Benefits. Utility should not include "net social benefits" when calculating shareholder incentive award. Docket No. G-011/M-95-1372, Aug. 1, 1996 (Minn.P.U.C.).
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