Phillip S. Cross
WITH DIRECT ACCESS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN ON Jan. 1, 1998, California regulators are moving quickly to set up their long-considered policies on electric restructuring. The restructuring actions touch nearly every aspect of electric regulation in the state from financing decisions and rate design to the sale of generating assets and monitoring new capital additions.
In addition, restructuring has affected ongoing regulatory activities such as the development of performance-based rate making plans and pricing and rate designs for large incumbent utilities.
NEW England Power, a subsidiary of New England Electric System, promoted Lawrence E. Bailey to president. Previously, Bailey served as vice president and director of generation operations.
Former Deputy Secretary of Energy, Charles B. Curtis, joined Hogan and Hartson as the director of its energy group. Susan Tomasky, former General Counsel of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, accepted a position with Hogan and Hartson's energy group.
GAS COMPETITION PLAN. Colorado releases framework for rate and service unbundling for natural gas LDCs, which includes: treatment of stranded cost, utility affiliate participation in the competitive market and supplier obligations. Docket No. 97I-0336, Aug. 19, 1997 (Colo.P.U.C.).
Local Telco Rates. Idaho directs USWEST Communications Inc. to reduce annual revenues by $327,000 and approves proposal to compensate ratepayers $4.2 million for yellow pages revenues. It also sets the rate of return on equity at 11.2 percent.Case No. USW-S-96-5, Order No.
THAINE J. MICHIE, general manager of the Platte River Power authority, was named president of the American Public Power Association. Michie has more than 30 years experience in the electric power industry; he has served on the APPA board since 1990.
Lanny P. Waguespack was chosen to head CMS Gas Transmission and Storage Co.'s new Denver office. He also was named director of business development in the western U.S. for the CMS Energy Corp. unit.
Executives at two subsidiaries of Aquarion Cos. were elected to leadership positions at industry associations. Leendert T.
Competition draws Christians, conspiracy theorists.
SO, WHO WANTS TO COMPETE AGAINST THE LOCAL UTILITIES? In most of the country, potential competitors tend to fall into three categories: (1) traditional utilities from within or nearby the affected state that wants to expand into foreign service territories; (2) unregulated subsidiaries of traditional utilities; or (3) power marketers and/or aggregators. In California, however, it's more of a mixed bag.
Lori A. Burkhart
Consumers appear unaware. Pilot programs seen under-subscribed.
TWO REPORTS RELEASED SIMULTANEOUSLY IN WASHINGTON, D.C., appear to confirm the worst fears of parties to the utility restructuring debate (em that consumers are unaware of deregulation and very few have taken home any real benefits. On Sept. 4, Yankee Energy System Inc. and International Communications Research Inc. jointly released survey results showing that two out of three Americans are still unaware of utility deregulation.
ENRON International has begun building a $150-million, 80-megawatt independent power project in Piti, Guam. Enron signed a 20-year energy conversion agreement to develop the baseload, slow-speed diesel plant by January 1999. In an unrelated deal, Enron Corp. selected Stone & Webster for engineering, design and procurement for two independent power producer plants in the United Kingdom. The 790-MW, gas-fired, combined-cycle plant in Lincolnshire is set for commercial operation in March 1999.
Duke Energy Power Services Inc.
(And why power plant buyers may follow suit.)
"WINNERS' CURSE" IS IMPORTANT TO THE UTILITY ASSET AUCTIONS. Winners' Curse is the tendency for the "rookies" and the wide-eyed visionaries to overbid in auctions with uncertain valuations.
The spectrum auctions at the Federal Communications Commission reveal the Winners' Curse even in the more "successful" rounds, despite the agency's elaborate precautions.
FCC's 14 spectrum auctions booked almost $23 billion in license fees (em almost $10 billion in broadband personal communications services (PCS).
Shirley S. Fujimoto, and Christine M. Gill
When the fanfare dies down, winners face the same challenge as with any new start-up but may enjoy more options than incumbent licensees.
The Federal Communications Commission's auctions of spectrum should concern two types of energy utilities: those who participate in the auctions and those who don't.
Initially, these auctions were viewed as a spectacular new regulatory tool (em able to raise billions of dollars for the public, without troubling the overburdened taxpayer. As of late, however, a dark side has emerged. Bidders have cried fraud.
Phillip S. Cross
In a long-awaited opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission exceeded its authority in approving pricing regulations to open the telecommunications local exchange market to competition.
The court upheld, however, major portions of the FCC regulations governing the duty owned by incumbent local exchange carriers to provide access to the public switched network for new market entrants.