Calendar of Events

Sep 08, 2014 to Sep 10, 2014 | Chicago, IL
Sep 29, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Michigan State University, Lansing MI
Oct 01, 2014 to Oct 03, 2014 | Washington, DC

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Public Utilities Reports

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New Jersey

Off Peak

NOx Joke

EPA Proposal Has IOUs Fuming

Electric utilities single-handedly to reduce smog.

MIDWEST AND OHIO VALLEY STATES ARE EXPECTED to get hit hardest by the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to reduce smog.

Ohio, for example, is home to American Electric Power, one of the biggest contributors of NOx emissions at nearly a half million pounds per year (see chart).

The EPA proposed Oct. 10 that 22 states reduce nitrogen oxide (em a key element of smog (em citing electric utilities as the main source.

LDCs Examine Hedging to Stabilize Gas Costs

Phillip S. Cross

Expressing concern about price volatility in the natural gas market, New Jersey, Virginia and Michigan regulators have directed local gas distribution companies to try fixed-price contracts and other hedging instruments. This would allay risk in wholesale gas supply portfolios and protect residential ratepayers from price swings common in the winter heating season, regulators said.

The growing popularity of fixed-price and other financial instruments to hedge against price spikes follows two winters of volatility noticed by regulators nationwide.

New Jersey.

Electric Pilot Uses Tariff Rate, Energy Credit

Phillip S. Cross

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has approved a pilot program for Jersey Central Power and Light Co. that will allow some of the utility's electric customers to choose a private energy supplier and then compare bills with and without retail competition.

JCP&L, an electric utility doing business as GPU Energy, serves more than 11,900 mostly residential customers in Monroe, N.J., the targeted town.

People

AT Washington Water Power, Bobby Schmidt was appointed director of the company, and Paul A. Redmond announced his retirement as chair and CEO. Redmond started with the company in 1965. Previously, Schmidt worked as an independent trader in Chicago.

MDU Resources Group Inc. has promoted Martin A. White from senior vice president, corporate development to president and CEO. White, who has been with the company since 1991, will replace retiring president H.J. Mellen Jr.

Robert L. Goocher was promoted to president of AGL Resources Service Co. from executive vice president and COO.

Kilowatts by Choice, Ready or Not

Lori M. Rodgers

A state-by-state look at retail competition.

RHODE ISLAND'S CUSTOMER CHOICE PROGRAM FOR LARGE-industrial and government consumers is five months old. California consumers will see retail choice on Jan. 1. New York, Illinois, Idaho and Washington have pilot programs well under way. And a statewide pilot program was set to begin this month in Pennsylvania.

Yet retail choice may prove vulnerable in New Hampshire (em the one state that has shown the greatest commitment to retail choice.

Perspective

Edward L. Flippen

With benefits unclear, PUCs will "go slow."

California, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont have given customers the right to choose their electric providers.

Other states are considering similar legislation.

In Congress, U.S. representatives Schaefer (R-Colo.), Markey (D-Mass.), DeLay (R-Tex.), and U.S. Sen. Bumpers (D-Ark.) and others have slapped bills on the table that would give choice to electric customers on a national scale.

Gas Restructuring: Can Distributors Repeat the Success of Pipelines?

S. Lawrence Paulson

A talk with two LDCs. First, PSE&G appears content to cede sales to marketers, Second, NW Natural intends not to give in just yet.

This much is clear: Energy utilities are headed for an unbundled future.

As states from both sides of the country implement residential and commercial natural gas unbundling, require residential choice pilot programs and grapple with electric industry restructuring, competition shows no signs of slowing. To boot, some members of Congress seem eager to give competition a national push.

Gas Pilot Programs Gain Steam

Phillip S. Cross

Over the summer, a handful of states approved gas pilot programs that will introduce choice of supplier to residential, and small commercial customers in preparation for the heating season. The decisions welcome the expansion of customer choice to smaller users, but pay careful attention to operational details such as who controls storage and upstream pipeline capacity to performance balancing services.

New Jersey. Finding greater than expected public interest, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has authorized New Jersey Natural Gas Co.

In Brief...

Sound bites from state and federal regulators.

Electric Exit Fees. New Jersey board exempts General Motors Corp. from any exit fees imposed in the future to collect electric utilities' stranded costs, in connection with GM's plans to build a $2.2-million gas-fired cogeneration facility (PURPA-qualified) at its Linden auto assembly plant. GM said it had checked all laws and regulations and had found no current obligation to pay exit fees. Docket No. ET96090669, June 24, 1997 (N.J.B.P.U.).

Residential Gas Rates. Arkansas OKs settlement allowing Arkansas Oklahoma Gas Corp.

FERC Ends Summer Session Without Fanfare

Lori A. Burkhart

No clear signal as yet from new chair James Hoecker.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had a busy day on July 30, but observers will have to wait until the fall to learn of any new wide-ranging policy initiatives planned by incoming chair James Hoecker, who has now succeeded Elizabeth Moler in the top post.

The end-of-summer meeting (em and Commissioner Donald F. Santa Jr.'s last (em was marked largely by a lack of controversy.

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