Calendar of Events

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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Commission

Financial News

W. Lynn Garner

There is a price to pay for becoming a lean, mean fighting machine, and utilities paid the price in 1994.

A number of electric utilities saw revenues increase last year on the strength of higher sales, but the costs associated with laying off hundreds of employees and downsizing company operations took a significant bite out of earnings.

A PUBLIC UTILITIES FORTNIGHTLY survey of the nation's top 20 electric utilities shows an increase in their combined 1994 revenues to $107 billion, a healthy 3.6-percent rise over the previous year.

Dam Removal Policy Carved in Stone

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has refused to reconsider its December 14, 1994, policy statement on hydroelectric plant decommissioning. That policy upholds the FERC's authority to deny new project licenses when existing licenses expire and to order owners to remove a dam during the relicensing process (Docket Nos. RM93-23-000, RM93-23-001). Commissioner James J.

Marketers Demand Generic Comparability

Lori A. Burkhart

Six major independent power marketers, calling themselves the Coalition for a Competitive Electric Market, have asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to begin broad-based, competitive reforms of the nation's electric service industry by winter 1996-97. Ultimately, they want the FERC to force all electric utilities that own transmission wires to allow marketers and other transmission-dependent power sellers and buyers to use their lines on a comparable basis.

FERC Investigates Gas Transportation Pricing

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has asked for comments on alternatives to traditional cost-of-service pricing for interstate natural gas pipeline transportation rates (Docket No. RM95-6-000). In response to many requests from pipeline companies to approve rates based on other pricing methods, some cost-based and some not, the FERC wants to develop a framework for analyzing alternative proposals.

Louisville G&E Settles on Comparability

Lori A. Burkhart

Louisville Gas and Electric Co. (LG&E) has filed a settlement offer on comparability of electric transmission, the result of negotiations with Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) staff since November. The first of its kind filed at the FERC, the settlement forms part of LG&E's comparable transmission service case, which involves the utility's network and point-to-point tariffs.

Telecom Reform: New Congress, New Bill

Lori A. Burkhart

Here we go again. Last year, the 103rd Congress failed to pass the much-promised and highly touted telecommunications reform legislation aimed at bringing the antiquated Communications Act of 1934 into the 21st century. Now it's up to the 104th Congress, and both parties have draft legislation ready to go.

In February, Sen.

Perspective

Patricia M. Eckhert

We stand on the threshold of a new era in the electric services industry. I deliberately avoid the term "electric utility industry," because the future is not limited to the vertically integrated monopoly utility. Many utilities may already perceive the first cracks in their armor: nonutility generators (NUGs), self-generators, and energy service companies.

Competition is not in the industry's future; it is here now. Further, competition and market forces are not going to magically disappear.

Mass. Utilities Settle Stranded Investment Issues

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has accepted a settlement agreement between Massachusetts Electric Co. (ME), the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), and Boston Edison Co., which decides stranded investment and wheeling issues arising from ME's loss of MBTA as a retail customer (Docket No. ER94-129-000). The case arose in 1991, when the Massachusetts legislature designated MBTA a "domestic electric utility," allowing MBTA to leave ME. MBTA then signed a wholesale supply agreement with Boston Edison.

Northern Border Plans Expansion

W. Lynn Garner

Northern Border Pipeline Co. has filed for federal approval to extend its pipeline system 218 miles deeper into the Midwest, at a cost of $370 million. Sponsors say the project could be in service by November 1997.

Consumers Power Targets "At-Risk" Customers

W. Lynn Garner

Consumers Power Co. has asked the Michigan Public Service Commission to approve a Special Competitive Service (SCS) rate to help retain industrial customers who threaten to leave the system. The SCS rate would be offered to customers who can obtain their power elsewhere and to new customers considering locating or expanding facilities in Michigan. "[A]pproval of this rate would grant Consumers Power the ability to negotiate special contracts with certain `at risk' large industrial customers which have competitive energy supply options," says Michael G.

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