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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Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

Merger Menace: Holding Companies and Overcapitalization

Jon Erik Kingstad

Merger Menace: Holding Companies and Overcapitalization

States remain as powerless to control holding companies as they were

in 1935, when PUHCA was passed.

During the 1970s and 1980s, diversification swept the gas and electric utility industries. One byproduct of this craze was the formation of a large number of new public utility holding companies, exempt not only from regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but from state regulation over security issues.

Trans Alaska Rate Settlement Resolved

Lori A. Burkhart

On November 8, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved a major rate settlement on pipeline corrosion issues for the owners of the Trans Alaska Pipeline Systems (TAPS), based on a November 1994 agreement in principle among the parties. The settlement results from an alternate dispute resolution (ADR) technique that employed a mini-trial and involved high-level representatives for all parties.

FERC Approves Open-access Tariffs

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has accepted proposed open-access, point-to-point, and network transmission service tariffs filed by Tampa Electric Co. (TE), effective November 14 (Docket No. ER95-1775-000) and subject to the outcome of its open-access Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (mega-NOPR) proceeding. TE says the tariffs substantially conform to the pro forma tariffs proposed under the mega-NOPR, and were calculated using the methods outlined there.

FERC Approves Market-Based Gas Storage Rates

Lori A. Burkhart

Finding that Enron Storage Co. lacks market power, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has approved its request for market-based storage rates for firm and interruptible natural gas service under section 311 of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978, subject to conditions (Docket No. PR94-2-000). Enron proposed that rates for individual storage services be determined by the marketplace and agreed to by itself and the customer through arm's-length negotiations.

Laissez Ies Bons Temps Rouler: NARUC's 107th Convention

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

Change was the operative word this year in New Orleans at the annual gathering the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners. Bob Anderson, Montana commissioner and outgoing president of NARUC, cited global competitiveness, technology and a political swing toward state's rights in his opening address. "State commissions have to respond to these powerful forces," he warned.

Perspective

James W. Moeller

The decision in September by Malcolm S. Forbes, Jr., millionaire businessman sans political experience, to launch a bid for the White House in 1996 prompts comparison with another millionaire businessman and political neophyte, Wendell L. Willkie, who defied conventional wisdom 55 years ago and won the GOP nomination to oppose Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940 Presidential election.

Forbes himself relishes the comparison.

Electric M&A: A Regulators Guide

David E. and Kimberly H. Dismukes

In a little over a year, the electric utility industry has seen six significant mergers.1 This trend toward consolidation most likely will increase as the industry becomes more competitive.

FERC Puts EBB Onus on Gas Industry

Lori A. Burkhart

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on "Standards of Communication Among Natural Gas Pipeline Companies and their Customers" (Docket No. RM96-1-000). At the same time, Commissioner James J. Hoecker urged the natural gas industry to continue its voluntary efforts to develop standards for electronic bulletin boards (EBBs). Commissioner Vicky A. Bailey agreed that the gas industry should take the lead, but warned that it has only a limited window of opportunity before the FERC takes over. Commissioner Donald F. Santa, Jr.

FERC Claims Jurisdiction Over Tiered Pipelines

Lori A. Burkhart

In three similar orders, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has given itself regulatory authority over linked and integrated intrastate pipelines in certain situations.

The first order finds the Kansas Pipeline (KP) system a single interstate pipeline system subject to the FERC's Natural Gas Act (NGA) jurisdiction, requiring KP to file an application for certificate authorization (Docket No. RP95-212-000).

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.

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