John S. Ferguson
Efforts to make generation competitive have induced several electric utilities to sell their power plants. Some sales are voluntary. Some are forced by rules mandating functional segregation from transmission and distribution. Of those sales announced or completed, most have involved high-cost utilities, and all have garnered at least book value, suggesting an attempt by sellers to deal with stranded costs.
Why then, are buyers willing to pay more than book value? They must believe they can improve on cash flows - either by raising revenues, trimming costs, or both.
Lori A. Burkhart, Phillip S. Cross and Beth Lewis
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.
Christine E. Platt and Jonathan W. Hurwitch
ACCORDING TO ONE RECENT SURVEY, MORE THAN HALF THE U.S. population now lives in states with customer choice. Moreover, industry executives expect 20 to 50 percent of these customers to choose a new electricity supplier by year end. %n1%n
With changes expected in the way electricity is generated, delivered and sold, exerting pressure on prices, what does the future hold for energy storage technologies?
After all, restructuring efforts appear most active in the highest-cost states -- those with average electricity prices running above 7 cents per kilowatt-hour.
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.
Scott T. Jones and Matthew B. Krepps
THE ROAD TO RETAIL COMPETITION IS A LONG ONE. HAVING realized that, utility management has quelled its initial panic and has begun to concentrate on longer-term objectives. For instance, how much market share am I likely to lose during competition's early stages? And what prices can I charge to various customer classes without incurring a loss in market share?
The answer could affect decisions about future load, asset divestiture and competitive strategies.
Lori A. Burkhart
HAS DISAGREEMENT BETWEEN STATE HOUSE AND COMmission stalled electric industry restructuring efforts in New York?
Sheldon Silver, speaker of the New York State Assembly, insists the Legislature is busy working on comprehensive restructuring legislation for the state. He has expressed dismay at efforts of the New York Public Service Commission, which is restructuring the industry utility by utility.
Silver believes legislation offers the best chance to introduce competition quickly and efficiently, rather than through multiple, individual restructuring plans.
FOILING EXPECTATIONS OF BOTH SUPPORTERS AND detractors, the Clinton Administration's proposed electric restructuring legislation offered no new policy on carbon-dioxide emissions, such as a cap-and-trade program similar to that already in place for sulfur dioxide.
But don't breath a sigh of relief. The debate has only begun.
Many observers see the Administration's tactics on CO2 as an obvious attempt to sidestep a highly sensitive political issue. They appear to agree that at some point the Administration must confront CO2 emissions.
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.
ENTERGY Power Group named Charles J. Brown III group president of development. Previously, Brown was responsible for Entergy's European project development.
Shahid J. Malik was promoted from senior vice president and COO to president and CEO of Entergy Power Marketing Corp. Malik joined the company in February 1997.
Ameren Energy, Ameren Corp.'s new independent energy marketing and trading affiliate, named Shannon B. Burchett president. Burchett previously served as senior vice president of marketing with Duke/Louis Dreyfus.
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.