Calendar of Events

Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Aug 11, 2014 to Aug 12, 2014 | New York, NY
Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL

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Communication

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Elizabeth Striano

PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION. Chief Judge D. Brock Hornby of the U.S. District Court in Maine, decided to allow Portland Natural Gas Transmission System access to electric transmission corridors owned by Central Maine Power Co. The access will be used to install a natural gas pipeline.

Portland received FERC approval Sept. 24 for installing and operating a 292-mile, $302-million interstate pipeline. CMP owns about 70 miles of the electric transmission corridor. The preliminary injunction, issued April 10, gives Portland access to property on CMP-owned transmission corridors.

Competitive Reciprocity: By Checklist or Certification?

M. Bryan Little

IF CONGRESS SHOULD CONSIDER LEGISLATION TO MANDATE retail wheeling - and even with a date certain - those states that have already opened their markets will still likely ask for reciprocity to guarantee that any competitor seeking entry will welcome competition in its own home territory. Why? Some states are moving more quickly than others. Second, others have indicated they do not intend to open at all.

Arguably, state lawmakers could enact a reciprocal covenant on their own.

Ma Bell's Legacy: Time for a Second Divestiture?

Trevor R. Roycroft, Ph.D.

TWO YEARS HAVE ELAPSED SINCE CONGRESS PASSED THE Telecommunications Act of 1996 to "provide a pro-competitive, de-regulatory national policy framework designed to accelerate rapidly private sector deployment of advanced telecommunications and information technologies and services to all Americans." %n1%n

Today, however, telephone deregulation has reached an impasse. Few customers enjoy competitive alternatives for local exchange service. Concentration in long-distance markets appears to be increasing.

News Digest

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

Courts

ENERGY SUPPORT SERVICES. An Illinois appeals court affirmed a 1997 decision by the state commission that had denied authority to Commonwealth Edison to offer "energy support services," such as design, engineering, construction, analysis and management of electrical power equipment and energy systems. The court made this decision despite the utility's argument that no evidence existed to support the commission's finding that ComEd enjoyed a monopolist's advantage over competitors.

Investor Beware: Don?t Overestimate Financial Returns In a Restructured Electric Industry

Bernard M. Fox

TODAY THE ELECTRIC UTILITY INDUSTRY HURTLES TOWARD massive restructuring. This fervor is not surprising as it appears society has become convinced that market forces can work better than a centrally planned, regulated environment. This conviction draws strength from deregulation in other industries, such as the airlines, natural gas production and telecommunications.

News Digest

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

TELCO UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND. Reversing an appeals court, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Kansas Corporation Commission that had required wireless telecommunications carriers to contribute to the state's universal service fund. It also affirmed a KCC ruling setting the initial amount of the fund in a roundabout way based on equalizing inter- and intrastate long-distance rates.

The KCC order (issued Dec. 27, 1996) had slashed intrastate toll rates by $111 million over three years. It then cut access charges by an equal amount to offset the loss to toll carriers.

News Digest

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

Courts

NITROGEN-OXIDE EMISSION LIMITS. Denying an appeal by electric utilities and industry groups against rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for emission limits for nitrogen oxides at certain electric utility boilers, a federal appeals court has ruled that EPA properly interpreted the Clean Air Act. The act allows EPA to set NOx limits for certain electric utility boilers if it could show that more effective technology for low-NOx burners was available, the court said.

News Digest

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

MICHIGAN CHOICE APPEAL. Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley filed an appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals of the Michigan PSC's Jan. 14 rehearing order (News Digest, March 15, 1998, p. 18) adopting a phase-in schedule for electric restructuring and retail choice for Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison. Kelley alleged that the order fails to create a competitive generation market or foster lower rates. He called it an "outrage," that gave the utilities everything they wanted. Case Nos. u-11290 et al., Feb. 13, 1998 (Mich.P.S.C.).

NEW HAMPSHIRE RESTRUCTURING. The U.S.

Selling Electricity Online? What the Internet Could Mean for Deregulation

Edward P. Meehan

IS IT A FAD OR BUSINESS? According to a recent SmartMoney %n1%n article, about 3 million customers traded $120 million in securities on the Internet last year, generating $700 million in commissions for online trading firms.

While this sum marks just 5 percent of total commissions for securities trading, it accounts for a healthy 30 percent of commissions for discount brokerage. Online trading firms, nonexistent several years ago, now total more than 50.

News Digest

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

Federal Agencies

ELECTRIC RETAIL PRICES. The Energy Information Administration has released a new report finding that the average retail price of electricity has declined for the third year in a row and remained stable for the first nine months of 1997. According to Electric Sales and Revenue 1996, average residential electric prices declined slightly in 1996, the first drop for that consumer class since the EIA began collecting data in 1984.

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