The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners appointed James Bradford Ramsay its general counsel. Ramsay's career at NARUC began in 1990. He previously served as a rates attorney with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
Chris Duhon, the former president of Houston-based Additech Inc., was named vice president and general manager of GRI's pipeline business unit.
Michael R. Peevey, founder and chairman of NewEnergy Inc., resigned in January. His company previously was called New Energy Ventures.
Commonwealth Edison Co. appointed Nicholas J.
Curt L. HÃ©bert Jr. and Joshua Z. Rokach
Read the RTO Rule. You'll see that it paves the way for transcos.
On Dec. 20, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hit the streets (both Wall and Main) with Order 2000, its rule on regional transmission organizations (RTOs). Ever since, utilities, investors and their advisers have been poring through the 727 pages of the document. They want to know, "What does the FERC really want?"
The question is not simply academic. On March 1 in Cincinnati, the FERC will open the first of five collaborative workshops to explore the RTO Rule and help the industry respond.
T+D Investment Risk. The Maine PUC appeared to take a pro-consumer stance in setting principles it will use to set a revenue requirement for transmission and distribution (T&D) services provided by Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. after the company becomes a wires-only utility on March 1. The PUC downplayed the risk of wires operations, adopting a return on equity of 11 percent and disallowing about $3.5 million of some $71 million in claimed T&D costs.
Bruce W. Radford
Tales of bad faith, cold feet and price manipulation.
Lollipops"/fn1/ and "loopholes." "Islands" and "peninsulas." Utilities have invented a colorful new lexicon to explain what's happening at power pools and regional transmission groups. Yet the basic issue remains familiar: How to gain a competitive advantage.
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.
Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis
TELCO UNIVERSAL SERVICE FUND. Reversing an appeals court, the Kansas Supreme Court upheld a decision by the Kansas Corporation Commission that had required wireless telecommunications carriers to contribute to the state's universal service fund. It also affirmed a KCC ruling setting the initial amount of the fund in a roundabout way based on equalizing inter- and intrastate long-distance rates.
The KCC order (issued Dec. 27, 1996) had slashed intrastate toll rates by $111 million over three years. It then cut access charges by an equal amount to offset the loss to toll carriers.
Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross, and Beth Lewis
NITROGEN-OXIDE EMISSION LIMITS. Denying an appeal by electric utilities and industry groups against rules proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for emission limits for nitrogen oxides at certain electric utility boilers, a federal appeals court has ruled that EPA properly interpreted the Clean Air Act. The act allows EPA to set NOx limits for certain electric utility boilers if it could show that more effective technology for low-NOx burners was available, the court said.
Hossein Haeri, M. Sami Khawaja, and Matei Perussi
Do mergers and "critical mass" really make a difference? The answer, it seems, is yes.
To become more competitive, U.S. electric utilities have embarked on a quest in recent years to improve operational efficiency and factor productivity. The question is: Are utilities making progress? And, which companies have gained a competitive edge? Which have not?
Industry analysts have long argued that given the structure of the markets they serve and their cost-based, rate-setting procedures, electric utilities tend toward monopolistic behavior.
Peabody COALSALES Co. agreed to provide Minnesota Power as much as 2.5 million tons of low-sulphur coal each year. Coal will be supplied by Peabody affiliate Big Sky Coal Co. Big Sky's contract with the power company ends in May; the new agreement runs through 1999. Terms of the deal weren't released.
The Georgia Public Service Commission begins a series of workshops on electric industry restructuring next month. The workshops will examine national efforts, consumer ramifications and environmental and energy efficiency issues. Stranded costs also will be targeted.
Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.
Perhaps the only political prediction bound to come true this year is that the words ôelectric restructuringö will reverberate in nearly every stateÆs legislative chamber.
So says Matthew Brown, director of the energy project at the National Conference of State Legislatures.
But other factors support BrownÆs prediction. Public Utilities FortnightlyÆs informal survey of most states turned up similar results. Legislators know that the Clinton Administration and the U.S. Congress plan to introduce a federal bill this year.