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Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL
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News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

Business Wire

William Catacosinos has resigned as chairman of MarketSpan Corp., the utility formed to replace the troubled Long Island Lighting Co. Catacosinos is under investigation by the New York attorney general due to a $42-million severance payment as part of the buyout of LILCO by the New York government-run Long Island Power Authority (see Public Utilities Fortnightly, August 1998, p.28).

SCT Utility Systems Inc., signed a software and services agreement worth about $13 million with the city of Seattle for the BANNER Customer Management System.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

FERC

MIDWEST POWER PRICES. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman James Hoecker announced July 15 that as soon as the staff presents its findings, the FERC will deal with the complaints filed by Cinergy, Steel Dynamics Inc., and others asking for regulatory relief from the late June run-up in Midwest bulk power prices (as high as $7,500 per megawatt-hour), and for a price cap set at $100/MWh. Nevertheless, Hoecker advised that the FERC was in "no hurry," and that the remedies available to it were not entirely clear. Docket No. EL98-53 (Cinergy), filed June 29, 1998; Docket No.

Frontlines

Bruce W. Radford

Did you hear the one about the utility dispatcher who downed one too many and paid too much for power? He said his system was loaded.

But his customers weren't. To learn more, I refer you to Kati Sasseville, the recently, though only somewhat, retired general counsel of Otter Tail Power Co., who believes that she and other colleagues at her former company have discovered something that everyone else has overlooked. The story begins in 1924, when Allegheny Power and Philadelphia Electric became the first utilities in the country to interconnnect their lines.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

State PUCs

STRANDED COST RECOVERY. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission allowed Pennsylvania Power & Light Co. to recover $2.9 billion of a requested $4.5 billion in stranded costs, cutting a higher $4-billion allowance proposed earlier by an administrative law judge. The utility petitioned for reconsideration on June 26, after CEO William F. Hecht had called the decision "unacceptable," and noting that the PUC's written order, received June 15, appeared "even more injurious" to the company that the PUC's June 4 bench order.

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, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

Power Pools & Reliability

SUMMER IN WISCONSIN. Responding to concerns about the electric shortages of the summer of 1997 and fears that they could happen again, Wisconsin PSC Commissioner Joseph P. Mettner has indicated that the state's energy supply outlook for the summer of 1998 appears much better in eastern Wisconsin than it did one year ago.

Mettner noted that Wisconsin's electric supply system is operating with expected reserve margins of 19.2 percent. But he cautioned that electric power flows do not respect borders.

FERC's Plan for Electric Competition

Wallace Edward Brand

WHY IS ELECTRICITY COMPETITION NOT WORKING? The principal reason is the failure of Order 888 to accommodate the economic and technological constraints of wholesale power markets.

Soon after Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 1992, to give authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to compel electric utilities under its jurisdiction to wheel power for others, the FERC correctly recognized that piecemeal wheeling orders wouldn't work well without a tariff. A tariff would make the service quickly available to the user without the need for time-consuming negotiation.

California's Electric Market: Are Customers Necessary?

Robert McCullough

A FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION UNDER CALIFORNIA's NEW electricity framework is, "Where have all the suppliers gone?" At a recent industry symposium, one large customer noted during negotiations with competitive energy suppliers that all five finalists had disappeared. The experience at my firm has been so draconian, but I have found that it is not unusual for half of the finalists to disappear in the bargaining. And when I say "disappear," I'm talking about something more extreme than simply reaching an irreconcilable difference.

News Digest

Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis

TELEPHONE BILLING PRACTICES. Citing the filed-rate doctrine, which bars deviation from published tariffs, a federal appeals court affirmed the dismissal of two class action suits against AT&T Corp. that sought damages for alleged fraud. The suite arose from AT&T's failure to disclose to its residential long-distance telecommunications customers its practice of rounding charges up to the higher full minute.

BPA, TVA, Salt River: Playing Fair in Power Markets?

Courtney Barry

CROSS THE COUNTRY, CRITICISM RISES FROM INVESTOR-owned utilities as public power agencies are drawn into regional or national markets through power pools and the geographic expansion of power marketing activities. Whether these agencies are seen as federally funded or just indirectly subsidized, the complaints remain the same: tax advantages, no reciprocity, exemptions from regulation.

Who really has power over the power? Do public power agencies enjoy an advantage, as private industry claims?

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