Calendar of Events

Apr 28, 2014 | New York, NY
May 05, 2014 to May 08, 2014 | Las Vegas, Nevada

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Public Utilities Reports

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Constellat

Score a Deal? 20-Odd Mergers in Search of a Policy

Bruce W. Radford

As utility takeovers break new ground, the FERC ponders proposed rules, perhaps already out of date.

A year ago, when U.S. Antitrust Czar Joel Klein talked of a "window of opportunity" for electric utility mergers, he didn't predict when it would close.

And it hasn't yet.

In the 12 months leading up to January 1998, when Klein had addressed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission through its "Distinguished Speakers" series, only the ill-timed Primergy deal had been turned down. The next year, 1998, would prove no different.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

Shaky merger policy finds the FERC at war with itself.

"IN HIS DELIGHTFUL ARTICLE, "THE FOLKLORE OF Deregulation," published this summer in the Yale Journal on Regulation, federal judge Richard Cudahy notes the ethereal nature of "virtual electricity." This new product, he explains,"exists only as a blip on a computer screen and will never give one a shock." "Reality," he notes, has "retreated to the money part of the system."

We could use a dose of that reality in looking at electric utility mergers.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

THE PRICING TURMOIL THAT STRUCK MIDWEST POWER markets during the week of June 22, with allegations of price gouging and calls for a wholesale price cap imposed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (see Docket EL98-53), made for good copy but has obscured what's really going on.

"In the pleadings to FERC, I saw no evidence of price gouging," says attorney Jeffrey Watkiss, who represents power marketers who have asked the Commission for wholesale market reform.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, and Phillip S. Cross

POWER PLANT SALE. Central Maine Power Co. has agreed to

sell its hydroelectric, fossil and biomass power plants totaling 1,185-MW of generating capacity to FPL Group, the holding company of Florida Power and Light. The sale price of $846 million exceeds book value and could permit up to a 10-percent rate cut for customers by the end of the year.

OHIO/TEXAS DEAL. Ohio-based American Electric Power

Co. and Texas-based Central and South West Corp. on Dec.

News Analysis

Phillip S. Cross

THE RECENT INCREASE IN MERGER ACTIVITY IN THE energy and telecommunications industries has concerned state regulators for some time. Such concern reveals how the practical or "local" aspects of business deals often clash with broader national issues reviewed by federal authorities in merger cases.

In electric utility mergers, for instance, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will address effects on competition, rates and regulation.

Electronic Trading: Toward a Mature Power Market

Lori M. Rodgers

A MASSIVE, WORLD WAR I-era building in downtown Baltimore houses Constellation Power Source, an unregulated, wholly owned power-marketing subsidiary of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. Upon introducing the new company in February, BG&E announced that Goldman Sachs would serve as "exclusive advisor" for the start-up.

Later, when asked to clarify the relationship between the two companies, Charles W.

PEPCO Wants Hike, Blames Merger Delay

Lori A. Burkhart

Potomac Electric Power Co. says merger delays are costing it money and it's asking the Maryland Public Service Commission to approve a rate increase.

PEPCO says savings achieved from its proposed merger with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. would have absorbed the increased costs. The merger would form Constellation Energy.

The rate increase would be only for the utility's Maryland customers.

FERC, Maryland PSC Approve Constellation

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Maryland Public Service Commission have approved the merger of Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. and Potomac Electric Power Co. to form Constellation Energy Corp.

However, the stiff terms for approval (em including mandatory rate cuts (em have prompted the utilities to claim they might abandon the merger.

Constellation Merger Set for Hearing

Lori A. Burkhart

A divided Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has set for expedited hearing the proposed merger between Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. (BGE) and Potomac Electric Power Co. (PEPCO) to form "Constellation Energy Corp.," to determine its effect on competition (Docket Nos. EC96-10-000 and ER96-784-000).

It will also consider the applicants' proposed open-access transmission rates. An administrative law judge will certify the record to the FERC by November 1.

People

Peter C. Nelson was named president and CEO of California Water Service Co. Nelson also will be a director. He comes from Pacific Gas & Electric Co., where he was v.p.-division operations. He replaces the retiring Donald L. Houck.

Jack Lucido of ANR Pipeline Co. was elected to the American Gas Association's pipeline research committee, succeeding Gary Walker of Pacific Transmission Co.

The Electric Power Research Institute hired Karl G. Van Orsdol as senior manager, international relations.

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