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Congress

The Vanishing LATA: Pricing Chasms and Clashing Markets for Toll Service

Michael H. Lee, and William A. Rosquist

By Michael H. Lee and William A. RosquistThe Vanishing LATA:

Pricing Chasms

and Clashing Markets

for Toll Service

Wide disparities can occur in toll rates within some states (em a legacy of multiple LATAs. Now, with

barriers falling, where will prices go?

Leasing the Loop: Telephone Service Resale in the Local Exchange

Terrence J. Schroepfer, and Margarete Z. Starkey

LEASING THE LOOP:

Telephone Service Resale in the Local ExchangeResellers want steep discounts, but local rates don't always cover costs. And reselling local lines provides little incentive

to upgrade the network.The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Act) compels local exchange carriers (LECs) to sell telephone service to competitors (em who would then resell to the public at retail. Instead of constructing their own local distribution networks, competitors would buy local telephone service from the existing carrier at discounted rates.

D'Amato Sends PUHCA Bill to Mark Up

Lori A. Burkhart

"This is not an intent to strip away consumer protection," Sen. Alfonse M.

D'Amato (R-NY) told

a Senate panel about S. 1317, a bipartisan bill to repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA).

D'Amato, chair of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, received nods from federal and state regulators at the June 6 hearing, although each voiced reservations. Three utility chiefs spoke in favor of the legislation.

Consumer advocates took the opposite tack.

Mailbag

Curbing Market Power

or Power Markets?

In their article, "Curbing Market Power: The Larger the Better" (Apr. 15, 1996, p. 10), Christopher D. Seiple and Douglas M. Logan show that market-share indices can be derived from commercially available databases. The authors reference their soon-to-be-released study, U.S. Electric Utility Industry Mergers and Acquisitions, as a source for further market-power assessments.

The topic is timely. The U.S.

PMAs: Taxpayer Rip-off

Lori A. Burkhart

Power marketing administrations (PMAs) suffered a setback on May 2 when the U.S. House Subcommittee on Water and Power Resources held an oversight hearing on the Pick-Sloan Eastern Division of the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA). According to a General Accounting Office (GAO) report issued that morning, about $454 million of the Division's irrigation and flood control investment in hydropower facilities will not be recoverable, because the irrigation projects will not be completed.

Perspective

John W. Berresford

Deregulation, competition, and marketplace practices have been spreading slowly across the communications business for decades. In their wake, they have left lower prices, faster innovation, and more services, jobs, profits, and productivity.

Among the proposals for still further change, one of the most shocking is the idea that radio rights should be bought and sold on the open market, just like land or any other commodity.

Off Peak

April 23, 1996

On behalf of our members, we want to express our continuing appreciation for the leadership you and your colleagues are showing in seeking enactment of S. 1317, a bill to repeal the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, while assuring appropriate consumer and investor protection. As you know, the '35 Act imposes duplicative, unnecessary, and burdensome requirements that are outdated and do not reflect current circumstances in the gas and electric utility industry.

DOE's Curtis Champions Natural Gas R&D

Lori A. Burkhart

Charles B. Curtis, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, spoke on the world energy balance and its impact on U.S. markets at the American Gas Association (A.G.A.) Natural Gas Roundtable on April 2 in Washington, DC. Curtis pointed out the security implications of the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast that global demand for oil might reach an additional 20 million barrels a day by 2010, and that the Persian Gulf would likely supply 75 percent of that demand.

The Feds Can Lead...By Getting Out of the Way

Steven M. Fetter

Stranded investment is mostly intrastate.

Let the states work free of uncertainty.

Recent activity in both chambers of the U. S. Congress shows federal lawmakers seeking to help the electric industry move toward competition. More than likely, election-year politics will stand in the way. Even so, Congress can go one better: It can step aside and let the states lead the way.

The greatest concern lies in stranded costs (em utility assets and obligations valued on company books at above-market levels.

Consumers: Cost or Benefit?

s Cherry Picking

"If we ignore history, we're doomed to repeat it. And what happened in the natural gas industry is precisely what will happen. The FERC authorized deregulation of the natural gas industry and, as a consequence, today's retail consumers (em meaning residential retail consumers (em are paying more than twice as much for natural gas as the large industrial users.

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