The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities found it’s unnecessary at the current time to require electric utilities to enter long-term contracts for power supply to address forecasts of insufficient peak-load requirements in the state. The department said that requiring electric distribution companies to enter into long-term contracts with generators would be proper only if there was convincing evidence that the competitive market has failed and that there are imminent reliability concerns.
Incentives, staffing, and benchmarking in a tight economy.
David W. Sosa, Ph.D., and Virginia Perry-Failor
In several recent utility rate cases, regulators have disallowed portions of utility compensation expenses, on the basis that difficult local economic conditions justify pay cuts. However, when utilities begin squeezing their uniquely qualified technical and management staffs, performance can suffer. Analysis Group authors David W. Sosa and Virginia Perry-Failor review experiences at several companies to show how an evidentiary approach will help utilities avoid disallowances of critical compensation for valued employees.
IN RECENT YEARS, THE high demand for local exchange codes from incumbent local exchange carriers and new competitors has mandated scores of new area codes across the United States, created through processes that generate a high degree of local controversy. Yet even after the new area codes are created, the demand for exchange codes for local calling areas continues unabated, leading in some cases to the exhaustion of exchange codes within brand new area codes in as little as two to three years -- a period much shorter than their expected life.
COMED appointed S. Gary Snodgrass as vice president of human resources for ComEd and its parent company, Unicom Corp.
The board of directors of Bay State Gas Co. elected Debra P. Cornish vice president of culture development. Previously, Cornish held positions as manager, compensation and employee relations, cost analyst and external reporting analyst.
MCN Investment Corp. promoted Joseph L. Roberts Jr. to president from vice president of MCNIC Pipeline & Processing Co. Roberts was also elected to the MCNIC board of directors. He remains vice president of MCNIC Power Co.
Central Maine Power Co. has sent requests for proposals to all parties expressing an interest in purchasing the utility's generation assets, as provided for by recently enacted state legislation.
Also, Boston Edison Co. has unveiled its proposal for divesting its gas- and oil-fueled generating plants, and has submitted its divestiture plan to the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities. The plan reflects a settlement among the utility, Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger and the Massachusetts Division of Energy Resources.
President Clinton appointed James J. Hoecker chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Hoecker, former commissioner of the FERC, replaces Elizabeth Moler who was appointed deputy energy secretary at the Department of Energy.
Walter Massey, president of Morehouse College, was selected by Secretary of Energy Federico F. Peña to replace Robert Hanfling as chair of the Secretary of Energy Advisory Board. Also at SEAB, Skila Harris was elected executive director. Prior to her election, Harris was special assistant to Vice President Al Gore.
Feds prefer legislative solution for now, but warn of bid-rigging, cartel behavior later on, after deregulation.
One of the nation's top antitrust officials told the House Judiciary Committee in June that moves toward utility deregulation should focus first on open access to the transmission grid (em and then resolve that problem through rulemaking or legislation, not antitrust enforcement.
"Antitrust is probably not the best way to address access," said Robert Pitofsky, Federal Trade Commission chair.
Eastern Edison Co. and Montaup Electric Co., both subsidiaries of Eastern Utilities Associates, have each filed an agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to introduce electric industry competition.
The target date for introduction of competition is Jan. 1, 1998, when Eastern Edison customers would experience a 10-percent rate cut or could choose an alternate electric supplier. Retail rates would be frozen until Dec. 31, 2000. But customers staying with the utility would be offered a price starting at 2.8 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities has authorized the Boston Gas Co. to implement a performance-based rate plan that will include a price cap for monopoly services, using the "GDP-PI" measure of inflation, minus a productivity offset of 2 percent.
It also told Boston Gas to cut rates by $2.897 million but allowed the company to go forward on an interim basis with an plan to unbundle services and require customers or marketers to take manadatory assignment of a pro rata share of the company's upstream pipeline and storage capacity contracts.
Four U.S., Canadian and British organization formed a $5.3 million venture to develop ultrasonic tools for detecting stress corrosion in natural gas an liquid pipelines. The consortium includes the Gas Research Institute, British Gas plc, the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, and PRC International. The new device will allow inspection of a wider range of gas pipelines. Field testing was expected to begin in 1998.
Conoco Global Power, Inc. and Western Resources' The Wing Group are among investors in a 160-megawatt (MW), natural gas-fired power plant in Columbia.
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