Calendar of Events

Aug 04, 2014 to Aug 15, 2014 | Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
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Public Utilities Reports

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Communication

Optional Two-Part Tariffs: Toward More Effective Price Discounting

Ronald Rudkin, and David Sibley

By unbundling usage from access, utilities can maximize contribution to margin and yet still retain load.

With deregulation and industry restructuring, energy utilities face price competition from marketers, brokers, independent producers and even other utilities. To succeed in this environment, utilities will need to develop innovative pricing strategies that better meet customer needs and respond more effectively to competition. The common response by utilities to competition calls for price discounting to retain "at risk"

customers by meeting the competition head-on.

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

Green Pricing. Michigan allows Detroit Edison Co. to expand its existing experimental photovoltaic "green pricing" program, finding current solar capacity fully subscribed, with a waiting list for new participants. Case No. U-10893, March 27 1997 (Mi.P.S.C.).

NUG Contracts. Virginia permits Delmarva Power & Light Co. to amend purchased power contract with Star Enterprises, its principal nonutility supplier, by suspending capacity supply and payment obligations through May 31, 2000. Case No.

Local Telco Must Continue Centrex Offerings

Phillip S. Cross

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has rejected a proposal by U S WEST Communications Inc. to discontinue offering its Centrex family of business services to new customers.

According to the commission, the local-exchange carrier's plan would make it much harder for new resellers to enter the local telephone market and seriously hamper the development of competition in the state.

U S WEST had claimed that misapplication of "Centron/Centrex" offerings by smaller users had resulted in significant "tariff arbitrage" of basic business service.

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

Pole Attachment Rates. Michigan PSC adopts new costing method to set utility pole attachment rates, aimed at developing competition in telecommunications services and discouraging investment in duplicate facilities by new market entrants. It cautions that changes in markets or regulatory environment might prompt a reconsideration. Case Nos. U-10741 et al., Feb. 11, 1997 (Mich.P.S.C.).

Internet Tariff Posting. New York PSC authorizes New York State Electric and Gas Corp.

Perspective

Daniel H. Israel

With the end of monopoly in electric generation, utilities can assure savings by taking a creative approach to state and local taxation.

Deregulation of electric generation will force electric utilities to examine closely their state and local tax burden. Under deregulation, most state and local taxes will not be part of a reimbursable rate structure. Rather, such costs will directly influence bottom-line profitability.

Local property taxes take a big bite out of electric generation profits. Coal suppliers of utilities pay significant local taxes.

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

Coal Tar Cleanup. Minnesota court affirms ruling by state regulators requiring Interstate Power Co.'s natural gas customers to contribute to costs for cleaning up the company's manufactured gas plants, since the plants were "used and useful" when the pollution occurred (though the wastes were not deemed hazardous until 1980). No. C1096-1558, Feb. 18, 1997 (Minn.Ct.App.).

AT&T's New Market. Washington allows AT&T Communications of the Pacific Northwest Inc.

Off Peak

Everybody's got an opinion on electric competition, and they're dying to be asked.

Last year the Colorado Public Utilities Commission opened Docket No. 96Q-313E, In the Matter of the Inquiry Into Electric Utility Industry Restructuring. Then, after weighing several options, and rather than preempt the policy discussion, the PUC mailed a 26-page questionnaire to 360 people identified as "having an interest" in electric utility issues, including investor-owned electric utilities, rural electric cooperatives, municipal utilities and others.

What it learned could fill a book ....

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators. Gas Load Building. Finding no protest from electric utilities, North Carolina waives requirements for preliminary cost-benefit analysis and approves incentive programs for Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc., designed to boots gas load by installing commercial gas cooking equipment at community colleges for use in culinary degree programs. Commission tells company to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis as soon as it can gather the necessary data from actual operating experience. Docket No. G-9, Sub 377, Jan. 31, 1997 (N.C.U.C.).

Do Lifeline Programs Promote Universal Telephone Service for the Pool?

Christopher Garbacz, and Herbert G. Thompson, Jr.

Hardly at all. In fact, they do little more than reapportion income (em a task that lies outside the FCC's mandate.

The Federal-State Joint Board on Universal Service recently proposed to expand subsidy programs for Lifeline telephone service. Under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Joint Board seeks to add more low-income households to the telephone network.

Will such a strategy work? Our recent findings suggest not. They indicate that simple continuance of such programs, much less expansion, is a highly questionable proposition.

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

Electric Briefs

Environmental Review. California halts work on report of environmental impacts of electric restructuring and new market structure, finding no need for independent review of commission proposals after state Legislature had sanctioned "a more competitive scheme" last summer when it passed Assembly Bill 1890. R.94-04-031, I.94-04-032, Decision 96-12-075, Dec. 12, 1996 (Cal.P.U.C.).

Electric Restructuring.

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