Calendar of Events

Sep 29, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Michigan State University, Lansing MI
Oct 01, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Washington, DC
Oct 06, 2014 to Oct 08, 2014 | Los Angeles, CA

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Public Utilities Reports

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DC

Off Peak

David A. Foli and A. Clay Denton

At the November 1, 1995, meeting of the Natural Gas Roundtable in Washington, DC, a representative of the American Gas Association (A.G.A.) launched a blistering attack against the Energy Information Agency (EIA) for its forecasts of natural gas prices. In essence, A.G.A. complains that EIA's long-term forecasts have proven unreasonably high, softening enthusiam for gas-burning equipment (from turbines to gas water heaters).

As quoted by Gas Daily, A.G.A.'s representative said: "The bottom line is whose numbers are right.

Perspective

Leonard S. Greenberger

One of my first assignments when I was a reporter for this magazine was a story on the flap over the Environmental Protection Agency's 1990 draft report on electromagnetic fields (EMF).

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

On Saturday, November 11, WPL Holdings, Inc. announced its three-way merger with IES Industries Inc. and Interstate Power Co. to form Interstate Energy. The very next day, in a full-page ad that ran in Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Madison Gas & Electric Co. launched its counteroffensive, featuring Boris the Pig.

"Hi (em I'm Big Boris," the ad begins. (The face of a handsome pig with a large snout stares back at the reader.) "My friends and I crave Radical Electric Deregulation.

Hurdling Ever Higher: A New Obstacle Course for Mergers at the FERC?

John F. Mandt and Karl R. Moor

For the partners in a utility merger, the celebration must wait. After opening the most delicate of dialogues, and then negotiating the price and closing the deal, the merger partners must yet gain the approval of regulators. The application may lie sealed in its FedEx pouch, safely on its way to Washington.

Gas PGA Reforms Stalled

Phillip S. Cross

The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) has rejected a proposal by customers of Missouri Gas Energy, a division of Southern Union Co. and a natural gas local distribution company (LDC), to modify the LDC's purchased gas adjustment (PGA) clause so that it applies solely to sales customers. The customers had claimed that the structure of the PGA predated provision of transportation service on the system and was currently used as an inappropriate vehicle for collecting nonpurchased gas costs from customers that no longer purchase supplies from the LDC.

Virginia Approves Gas-supply Cooperative

Phillip S. Cross

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) has approved a plan by two natural gas local distribution companies (LDCs), Washington Gas Light Co. and Delmarva Power and Light Co., to join with other regional LDCs to form a cooperative to provide for the coordination and use of common capacity, storage, transportation, and supply assets. According to the LDCs, the East Coast Natural Gas Cooperative was a necessary response to recent changes in the gas industry, which shifted responsibility for arranging gas supplies from interstate pipelines to LDCs.

PoolCo and Market Dominance

Randall J. Falkenberg

Imagine if the airlines had followed a utility model when they deregulated back in 1978.You and five other planeloads show up at the airport to catch a flight to Chicago. Every few hours the airport operator holds an auction for the next hour's Chicago flights. Delta offers two new 767's at $200 per ticket. U.S. Air bids one 737 at $300. American has six

DC-9's and bids each one at $1,000 per head. When the auction ends, Delta and U.S. Air fill their planes.

Missouri Finds Affiliate Study Contract Imprudent

Phillip S. Cross

Concluding an investigation of supply-cost recovery for the Associated Natural Gas Co., a natural gas distribution company (LDC), the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) has found imprudent the LDC's long-term supply contract with an affiliated supplier, SEECO, Inc. The PSC excluded from adjustment clause recovery one-half the premium paid above spot-market prices under the contract for firm fixed-price swing-gas supply. The PSC said the LDC failed to properly evaluate other gas suppliers prior to entering into the contract or to document its gas purchasing practices.

N.Y. Finetunes Gas Restructuring

Phillip S. Cross

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has modified an earlier ruling (Re Restructuring of the Emerging Competitive Natural Gas Market, 158 PUR4th 553 (N.Y.P.S.C. 1994)) that set forth a policy framework to guide the post-Order 636 transition of the state's natural gas distribution industry. The 1994 ruling divided local distribution company (LDC) customers into core and noncore groups, and allowed flexible market-based pricing for unbundled services to the noncore group.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

Did you hear the one about the middle-aged utility executive who became depressed about plans to restructure his company? It seems he couldn't cope with how fast things were changing. So he threw himself in front of a glacier.

That story comes from a meeting I attended back in October, styled Executive Visioning Workshop, sponsored by Arthur D. Little, Inc., which attracted some 21 energy industry executives.

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