Mergers & Acquisitions
NSP + New Century. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission OK'd the merger of Northern States Power Co. (NSP) and New Century Energies Inc. (NCE), to form Xcel Energy Inc., on condition that the new company would join the Midwest Independent System Operator. FERC Docket No. EC99-101- 000, Jan. 12, 2000, 90 FERC ¶61,020.
* Rate Pancaking. The FERC found no problem with transmission rate pancaking with the MISO condition, even though NCE subsidiary Southwestern Public Service Co. (SPS) belongs to the rival Southwest Power Pool.
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.
Carmen Ana Cintron was named an administrative law judge at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Cintron previously served as Hearing Office chief administrative law judge in the Office of Hearings and Appeals of the Social Security Administration in Chamblee, Ga.
Unicom Corp. appointed Elizabeth Anne "Betsy" Moler senior vice president for federal government affairs. Moler, an attorney in private practice in Washington, D.C., is a former FERC chair. Upon completion of Unicom's merger with PECO Energy, she will head the combined company's Washington office.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Joint Ventures. The Federal Trade Commission, in consultation with the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, issued draft antitrust guidelines for "collaborations among competitors" that will apply to a wide range of joint ventures and strategic alliances other than actual mergers.
Such collaborations would include R&D efforts, information sharing and joint efforts in marketing, distribution, sales or purchasing, plus various types of trade association activities. File No. 971201, Oct. 1, 1999 (F.T.C.), published at 64 Fed. Reg.
Electric Standard Offers. Connecticut OK'd a regulated standard offer distribution rate of 10.84 cents per kilowatt-hour for United Illuminating Co. The rate included subcomponent rates:
Gen. Shopping Credit 4.52 cents
T&D Regulated Service 3.89 cents
Systems Benefit Charge 0.17 cents
Compet. Transition Charge 1.91 cents
Conservation Funding 0.3 cents
Renewable Energy Funding 0.05 cents
The T&D charge was calculated without backing out unbundled retail transmission subject to FERC jurisdiction. Docket No. 99-03-35, Oct.
Five commission chairs from states in all phases of deregulation ponder their changing roles. Will market success make them obsolete?
As most state electric competition plans are implemented within the next few years, regulators face an uncertain future. And they're already reflecting on their role in a changing industry.
Regulatory commissions in both Illinois and California have created panels to discuss the issue and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) has held closed-door sessions on the subject.
Gas Appliance Repair.
Consultant blasts national effort, says standards themselves are the problem.
Concerted efforts by utilities, retail marketers and metering companies to establish uniform business practices by implementing national electronic data interchange standards, or EDI, as part of retail competition, are being undermined by the EDI standard itself, says Doug Houseman, director at Cap Gemini Hagler Bailly.
"It is a very big, nasty, complicated monster. There are a lot of people that do not know what they are doing," he says.
Lori A. Burkhart, and Regina R. Johnson
Online services are popping up - for commodity trading, retail marketing and back-office billing. But is the Web right for every application?
A recent study by Connecticut-based META Group Inc. finds that while less than 5 percent of all utility commerce will be conducted electronically in 1999, 30 percent of customer service and retail bill payments will flow over the Internet by 2004. That prediction highlights a torrent of Web activity in recent months, from power trading online to retail solicitations to electronic customer billing and payment.
Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.
Hoecker, Trebing see advantages in economies of scale.
Will New York's proposed independent system operator fall victim to the FERC's evolving RTO process?
"It has some conceivable drawbacks," FERC Chairman James J. Hoecker told attendees at the 30th Annual Institute of Public Utilities Conference. "One is that it's a single-state ISO and in the final analysis, regional transmission organizations probably need to cover broader geographical areas."
Hoecker used the forum at the Dec.