Calendar of Events

Nov 24, 2014 | Washington, DC
Dec 08, 2014 to Dec 09, 2014 | Washington, DC
Jan 14, 2015 to Jan 16, 2015 | San Diego, CA

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Communication

Mail

Matthew T. McCabe

IN ACCORDANCE WITH OUR PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS. we understand that the City of Alameda, Calif. and our municipal utility, the Bureau of Electricity are to be featured in an article to be published in your September edition. The article is being prepared by Mr. Len Grzanka, a local freelance writer, and is to discuss municipal telecommunications ventures. Based on recent staff discussions with Mr. Grzanka, we have some concern that Alameda's situation be represented accurately.

News Analysis

Lori M. Rodgers

THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY HAS OVERtaken the sweepstakes industry for the dubious title as The Most Complained About Industry.

From January through June of this year, the National Fraud Information Center received 2,071 cramming reports, plus hundreds more calls from consumers with a cramming problem but not enough details for the NFIC to file a formal report. The Federal Trade Commission defines cramming as unexplained charges on a consumer's telephone bill for services never ordered, authorized, received or used.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

FERC

GAS PIPELINES. Noting a move toward shorter-term contracts since Order 636, the FERC on July 29 issued an "integrated package" of reform proposals for the natural gas pipeline industry: (1) specific measures in a notice of proposed rulemaking on short-term transportation (transactions shorter than one year); plus (2) an open-ended request for comments in a broader notice of inquiry. RM98-10-000, 84 FERC ¶61,985 [NOPR]; RM98- 12-000, 84FERC ¶61,087 NOI].

People

Darwin Subart was named assistant vice president, business development, of Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Co., a subsidiary of MDU Resources Group Inc. Subart has served as the company's business development director since 1994.

Curt L. Meyer joined Peregrine Communications, a fiber-optic network provider, as a regional account manager. Most recently Meyer worked for Strom Engineering.

CMS Energy Corp. elected Kenneth L. Way to its board of directors. Way is chairman and CEO of Lear Corp. Way's election brings membership of the board to 11 directors.

Robert P.

People

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS of Virginia Power elected James A. White to the position of senior vice president, human resources. White previously served as senior vice president, human resources for the investment management group of Cigna Corp. He will replace Tom O'Neil, who retires after a 33-year career with the company.

Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced the appointment of Tina Kreisher as communications director of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Kreisher previously served as deputy director of the Washington d.c. office of Gov.

Electric Meter Deregulation: Potholes on the Road to Plug-and-Play

Bruce W. Radford

NO MORE METER MONOPOLY?

So they say. Many believe that utility control over electric metering exerts a chilling effect on retail choice in energy. They claim that competitive energy service providers cannot earn a high-enough margin on the commodity alone, but must offer companion services - metering, billing and value-added options.

Yet the road to competitive metering is pitted with potholes. Utilities, ESPs and private meter vendors and manufacturers can be found arguing over a raft of issues.

Utility Diversification: Munis Find Cable TV a Costly Business

Len Grzanka

THE OLD ADAGE ABOUT INNOVATION STILL HOLDS TRUE: "You can tell the pioneers by the arrows in their backs." More than 70 municipal utilities have either built or plan to build telecommunications systems with fiber-optic and coaxial cable to compete against local cable television, data communications or telephony providers. Profitability for these ventures has been abysmal, but their customers and regulators are happy. Now large, investor-owned electric utilities are stumbling down the same trail marked with cast-off bandages of these early pioneers.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

FERC

MIDWEST POWER PRICES. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman James Hoecker announced July 15 that as soon as the staff presents its findings, the FERC will deal with the complaints filed by Cinergy, Steel Dynamics Inc., and others asking for regulatory relief from the late June run-up in Midwest bulk power prices (as high as $7,500 per megawatt-hour), and for a price cap set at $100/MWh. Nevertheless, Hoecker advised that the FERC was in "no hurry," and that the remedies available to it were not entirely clear. Docket No. EL98-53 (Cinergy), filed June 29, 1998; Docket No.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

State PUCs

STRANDED COST RECOVERY. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission allowed Pennsylvania Power & Light Co. to recover $2.9 billion of a requested $4.5 billion in stranded costs, cutting a higher $4-billion allowance proposed earlier by an administrative law judge. The utility petitioned for reconsideration on June 26, after CEO William F. Hecht had called the decision "unacceptable," and noting that the PUC's written order, received June 15, appeared "even more injurious" to the company that the PUC's June 4 bench order.

FERC's Plan for Electric Competition

Wallace Edward Brand

WHY IS ELECTRICITY COMPETITION NOT WORKING? The principal reason is the failure of Order 888 to accommodate the economic and technological constraints of wholesale power markets.

Soon after Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 1992, to give authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to compel electric utilities under its jurisdiction to wheel power for others, the FERC correctly recognized that piecemeal wheeling orders wouldn't work well without a tariff. A tariff would make the service quickly available to the user without the need for time-consuming negotiation.

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