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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Commission

Coal Change Fuels VP/DRi Dispute

Lori A. Burkhart

Virginia Corporation Commission staff have discovered that Virginia Power Co. (VP) customers overpaid $11 million for fuel under a renegotiated coal-hauling contract with CSX Transportation. Without corrective action, VP would continue to bill ratepayers for excessive fuel payments through 2000, when the contract expires.

Wisconsin Initiates Competition Proceedings

Lori A. Burkhart

The Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) has moved one step closer to competition, meeting with electric utility representatives to explain the restructuring. Commissioner Scott Neitzel, who will oversee the process, plans to convene an 18-member committee, representing various interests, to recommend ways of introducing competition. Neitzel maintains that all customer classes will either benefit or be held harmless by the changes.

Niagara Mohawk gets Rate Increase

Lori A. Burkhart

Two New York Public Service Commission administrative law judges (ALJs) have recommended that Niagara Mohawk Power Corp. (NMP) be allowed to increase its 1995 electric and gas rates by $57 million (1.9 percent) and $10.7 million (1.7 percent), respectively (Docket Nos. 94-E-0098, 94-E-0099, and 94-G-0100). The proposal contrasts sharply with the PSC's 1994 recommendation to cut NMP rates by 7.1 percent over five years. NMP had asked for a 1.8-percent hike in electric rates, and a 4.2-percent increase in gas rates.

Williams to Pump Cash Into Transco

W. Lynn Garner

To further their pending merger, the Williams Companies Inc. has offered to reduce Transco Energy Co.'s cost of capital via a $950-million shot in the arm. The merger will create the second biggest U.S. pipeline company in terms of pipeline miles, but the largest in terms of gas delivered (about 4 trillion British thermal units annu-ally). The recapitalization plan, however, must first be approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Gas May Find New Futures in Kansas

W. Lynn Garner

The Kansas City Board of Trade has asked the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to approve a natural gas futures and options trading contract for a summer launch. The designated delivery point is the Permian/Waha Hub in West Texas, operated by Valero Transmission Co. Kansas City Board chairman Don Hills says the western gas futures contract is necessary because gas prices differ significantly across the country, due to seasonal weather extremes and the diverse origins of supply.

People

Thomas L. Fisher, president of NICOR Inc., will become CEO at the company's annual meeting on May 3. He also is expected to become chairman in December, succeeding Richard G. Cline. Fisher, 50, joined NICOR's principal subsidiary, Northern Illinois Gas Co., in 1967, became president and CEO in 1988, and has served in a number of executive positions.

PECO Energy Co. president Corbin A. McNeill, Jr. will assume the additional position of CEO at the company's April 12 annual meeting. Joseph F.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

This fight is for the heart and soul of regulation everywhere. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) won the first round on February 22, but I think there's more to come.

The fight involves incentives for nonutility generators (NUGs). It also touches on PURPA (em the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (em which guarantees a market to cogenerators or power producers (QFs) who qualify. But more important, this battle involves regulatory philosophy.

This New Congress Means Business

W. Lynn Garner

After 40 years of wandering in the wilderness as a minority party, House Republicans are ready to slash and burn what they see as a bloated federal bureaucracy. The next two years will demonstrate just how powerful the legislative branch can be when both House and Senate are controlled by a strong-willed party on a mission. Electric industry officials seem optimistic, but cautious, about this Republican revolution.

PoolCo, Bilateral Trading, and Technology

Alex Henney

Alex Henney is associated with Energy Economic Engineering Ltd. in London, and has consulted in many countries. As early as February 1987, Henney advocated competitively restructuring the electricity supply industry and incorporating a pool as a real-time spot market. He is the author of A Study of the Privatisation of the Electricity Supply Industry in England and Wales.

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Last year, the Norwegian Market Co. decided to stick with bilateral trading and a spot market.

Who Will Regulate PoolCo-the FBI?

Eugene P. Coyle

Eugene P. Coyle works as an energy analyst for Toward Utility Rate Normalization (TURN), a consumer advocacy group in California that claims 30,000 members.

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The January mini-forum failed to discuss a key underlying assumption made by PoolCo proponents. The assumption is that price competition will really exist in tomorrow's wholesale electric market.

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