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Public Utilities Reports

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New Jersey

News Digest

Federal Agencies

Nuclear Plant Fines. The Nuclear Regulatory Commis-

sion has proposed fines totaling $2.1 million against Northeast Nuclear Energy Co. for many violations at the company's Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford, Conn. The fine marks the largest civil penalty ever proposed by the NRC. Northeast Utilities said it will pay the fine, which it called "a necessary and important step toward bringing to closure a very disappointing and difficult chapter in the company's history." The utility said it will not pass the cost onto ratepayers.

Electric Futures.

Off Peak

IF YOU HAD TAKEN A JOB ON A STATE PUBLIC UTILITY commission back in 1928, at the average pay scale for regulators, and still held that position today, how would you have fared?

The answer: It depends on which state you worked for.

In 1928 Public Utilities Fortnightly reported an average annual salary for state PUC members of $5,092.64 ("Your State Public Service Commissioners," Feb. 23, 1928, p. 9). Salaries ranged from as low as $2,000 and $2,200 (Vermont and Mississippi), to as high as $10,000 (Pennsylvania), $12,000 (New Jersey) and $15,000 (New York).

News Digest

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

CONSUMER FRAUD. The National Association of Attorneys

General, meeting Nov. 18 in Washington, D.C., to discuss electric restructuring, issued a warning to electric consumers on fraudulent schemes and abusive practices by scam artists. The warning encourages consumers to check their electric bills for unusual provider names or charges, and to avoid participating in contests that require a signature that can be used to switch an account.

RATE REDUCTION BONDS.

California's Scheduling Coordinator: Market-Maker with Advantage

Eric Charles Woychik

AFTER A FOUR-YEAR DEBATE ON ELECTRICITY REFORM, CALIfornia's powerful industry players have carved out a unique and broad new role for "scheduling coordinators." SCs have the central role in offering fully unbundled generation, transmission and retail-access services. But could these SCs, by controlling the market, also become the new monopolists?

California's highly complex scheme for markets, while said to be laissez faire, maintains several artificial constraints and market protocols that create advantages for SCs.

Meter Madness

Stephen L. Teichler

WE HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE AND IT IS THE HOURLY pricing of electricity.

In California, the power exchange serves as the cornerstone for a restructured electric industry. The raison d'être of the PX is to reveal the hourly marginal cost of electricity. Now add PJM to the list. Like California, an integral aspect of the restructured Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Maryland Interconnection, as approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by order dated Nov. 25, 1997, is the mid-Atlantic market, which intends also to fix an hourly price for electricity.

People

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.

PUCs in 1997: Managing the Competition?

Phillip S. Cross

WHETHER YOU CALL IT "DEREGULATION" OR "re-regulation," the promised move to competition does not mean less regulation - at least not any time soon.

Rethinking WEPEX: What's Wrong with Least Cost?

William W. Hogan

AFTER MUCH DISCUSSION AND INNOVATION, CALIFORNIA is scheduled to launch its new electricity market (known as WEPEX) on Jan. 1, 1998, and we have a chance to revisit the issues. In the earlier round of this conversation, now three years past, I argued that the debate contrasting pool and bilateral models for a restructured electricity market was missing the point. %n1%n

I had thought the pool versus bilateral debate would be over by now; having both would have solved it.

ISOs: A Grid-by-Grid Comparison

James F. Wilson

BY THE START OF 1998, FOUR INDEPENDENT SYSTEM operators already were in operation and conditionally approved: ISO-NE, PJM and California by the FERC and Texas by the state PUC. Three more were either pending before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission or expected to be filed in the coming months (New York, Midwest and IndeGO in the Northwest). Three additional efforts to develop ISO proposals were under way (DesertSTAR, MAPP and SPP). The Southeast is now the only large region of the contiguous United States without an ISO concept.

Courts & Commissions

Phillip S. Cross

WITH DIRECT ACCESS SCHEDULED TO BEGIN ON Jan. 1, 1998, California regulators are moving quickly to set up their long-considered policies on electric restructuring. The restructuring actions touch nearly every aspect of electric regulation in the state from financing decisions and rate design to the sale of generating assets and monitoring new capital additions.

In addition, restructuring has affected ongoing regulatory activities such as the development of performance-based rate making plans and pricing and rate designs for large incumbent utilities.

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