Mergers & Acquisitions
Docket No. EC00-26-000, 91 FERC ¶61,036, April 12, 2000.
Vicky A. Bailey, a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, has left the FERC to serve as president of Cinergy Corp.'s PSI Energy Inc. unit in Indiana. Bailey served on the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission before joining FERC in 1993.
Janet Gail Besser, chair of the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy for two years and a board member since 1995, resigned in December. She was to join consultant Lexecon Inc. in March.
SEMCO ENERGY Inc. named Barrett Hatches president of ENSTAR Natural Gas Co. He succeeds Richard Barnes.
Bruce W. Radford
How 165 lawyers were mostly on the wrong side in the biggest electric merger to date.
With Warren Buffet buying up MidAmerican Energy as his own personal utility, and Bill Gates taking a stake in Avista, the standard electric merger starts to look tame.
For that and other reasons, I believe it's all but certain that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will soon OK the electric industry's biggest-ever merger, combining American Electric Power Co. with Central and South West Corp.
Utilities and marketers hash out the final details on a standardized contract for physical trades of electricity.
A standardized master contract for U.S. power trading could help wring order out of chaos in electric commodities markets by defining a common set of terms for physical transactions for both utilities and marketers, say experts.
But success likely will hinge on how well utilities and marketers can compromise on a narrow list of issues still to be settled, say those same experts.
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.).
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.
Lessons learned from Cinergy's losses in commodity markets.
After a second summer of extreme weather, contract defaults and consequent financial losses to energy companies, the financial community and shareholders are holding utilities ever more accountable when it comes to managing risk, say analysts. Moreover, they're showing zero tolerance for failure.
Bruce W. Radford
MIT professor Paul Joskow asks the FERC how its rulemaking will help consumers.
By Aug. 23, the electric industry had filed over 150 separate comments - nearly 4,000 pages - telling the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission what it thinks about regional transmission organizations.
All other stories pale in comparison. The commission's proposed rulemaking on RTOs would reinvent the electric transmission business. The case gives economists a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to instruct a government agency how to design and build a market from the ground up.
Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross, and Carl J. Levesque
Studies and Reports
Natural Gas Retail Choice. Utility affiliates hold large market shares in natural gas customer choice programs, raising questions about the extent of true competition, according to a study released on Dec. 15 by the U.S. General Accounting Office. Participation varies by region, however, according to the report, "Energy Deregulation - Status of Natural Gas Customer Choice Programs."
In Pennsylvania, for example, three out of four programs showed very high shares for utility affiliates. The Equitable Gas Co.