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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Public Utilities Reports

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DC

Energy Service Companies: No More Mr. Niche Guy

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

The larger companies are winning more business. But how will

they fit into a restructured industry?

Put 45 energy service companies (ESCos) into a $1-billion market, and they easily average over $20 million each. That's almost four dozen companies exploiting a niche an eighth the size of the microprocessor industry.

So it's easy to understand why new ESCos, half with utility roots, enter the fray weekly.

Arkansas Oks Weather Normalization for LDC

Phillip S. Cross

The Arkansas Public Service Commission (PSC) has authorized Arkla, a division of Noram Energy Corp. and a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to apply a weather normalization adjustment to billings from November through April. Finding that the new clause did not constitute a "general rate increase," the PSC rejected procedural objections that it failed to meet certain notice requirements.

LDC Aggregates Transportation Loads

Phillip S. Cross

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved a proposal by Peoples Gas System, Inc. to make gas transportation service available to customers that use more than 500,000 therms of natural gas, in the aggregate, at multiple delivery points within its service territory. To qualify, the multiple facilities must be directly owned and operated in the name of a single customer of record. The rates will be the same as those charged under the otherwise applicable sales tariff, less the purchased-gas adjustment charge.

LDC Acts to Retain Large Customers

Phillip S. Cross

The Maine Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has authorized Northern Utilities Co., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to offer a special rate to extra-large firm sales customers. The new offering is designed to enable large customers with flat loads to obtain gas service at a rate that better reflects the lower nongas cost of service for such customers. Unusually large customers

wishing to take service under the new rate must demonstrate that their load is largely flat and, thus, maximizes the nongas costs of serving their needs.

Gas Rate Case Looks at Interruptible Sales Margin

Phillip S. Cross

The Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control (DPUC) has authorized Connecticut Natural Gas Corp., a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to increase rates by $8.9 million, with a return on equity (ROE) of 10.76 percent.

State Reviews Marginal Cost Pricing for Gas LDC

Phillip S. Cross

While examining cost allocation and rate design for natural gas distribution services provided by Pacific Gas and Electric Co., a local distribution company (LDC), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has concluded that the long-run marginal cost method it adopted in 1992 was not proving effective in producing prices observed in fully competitive markets.

Decontracting: Stranded Costs for Interstate Pipelines?

Rebecca A. McDonald

Competition from Order 636 has gas customers rethinking their firm capacity options.

Just when everyone thought we had put Order 636 behind us, up pops perhaps our greatest challenge yet: the turnback (or "decontracting") of firm capacity on interstate natural gas pipelines. This phenomenon, now emerging on a few major pipelines, such as Transwestern, El Paso, and Natural Gas Pipeline Co. of America, inspires different reactions.

Fossil in Your Future? A Survival Plan for the Local Gas Distributor

Vincent J. Esposito III

LDC Minimus, LDC Insipidus,

LDC Robustus? Which Would You Rather Be?

Post-Order 636 evolution depends on aggressive regulatory and legislative reform.

"Get out of the gas business. Drop the merchant function. We can't make any money selling gas and we are constantly at risk to having gas costs disallowed. It's a no-win situation.

Unsubscribed Capacity: A Growing Problem

Lori A. Burkhart

An LDC Caucus report, An Issue Paper Regarding Future Unsubscribed Pipeline Capacity, forecasts an increase in reduced subscriptions of firm capacity due to a combination of factors:

s Shifting patterns of gas purchasing will reduce the need for transportation over certain pipeline corridors.

s Single-fixed-variable rate design makes capacity reservation costly for LDCs with low load factors.

Marketing & Competing

James R. Pierobon

"This legislation represents a piecemeal approach to a problem which requires deliberate and thoughtful consideration .... [It] could lead to 'cream-skimming,' which would result in increased rates for the remaining business and residential customers" (Lincoln Almond, Governor of Rhode Island).

Words to this effect are likely to grace vetoes of retail wheeling legislation by governors and maybe the President of the United States for the foreseeable future.

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