Gas Retail Rate Design. In a move toward equalizing rates of return between customer classes, the Oregon PUC authorized Northwest Natural Gas Co. to increase base rates by nearly $246,000, at the same time boosting residential rates by 1.3 percent but lowering rates for large commercial and industrial users. It set return on equity at 10.25 percent, finding the rate "consistent with the downward trend of ROEs authorized by other regulatory commissions." Order No. 99-697, Nov. 12, 1999 (Ore.P.U.C.).
Eric Hirst, and Brendan Kirby
A case study shows how today's typical tariffs can force some industrial electric customers to subsidize others.
There ought to be a better way for electric utilities to set prices for ancillary services - so that customers pay rates that fairly reflect the needs they impose on the bulk power system. However, while federal officials seem to agree with this point, so far they have done little to turn the idea to action.
Carl J. Levesque
Developers launch 70,000 MW of new capacity in Texas, PJM and New York state, but how much will get built?
It's so hot down here, it isn't funny," laughed Ken Donohoo, senior transmission systems engineer at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas independent system operator. But no, he wasn't talking about last summer's scorching temperatures.
Instead, Donohoo was referring to some 30,000-plus megawatts of generation capacity proposed to be built in ERCOT between 2001 and 2003.
Lori A. Burkhart
Transco law opens the door to munis and co-ops.
As the electric industry awaits a final rule from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on regional transmission organizations, Wisconsin has moved to create its own stand-alone transmission company, or transco.
In the process, Wisconsin will allow grid-dependent utilities to get a piece of the action.
The Legislation. On Oct. 27, Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson signed Assembly Bill 133, an omnibus budget bill that incorporated original Assembly Bill 389.
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.
Chris Leshock, and Patrick Wright
Steep environmental costs mean coal-fired power's competitive edge will drop by half.
A mid increasing pressures to reduce costs, the competitive positions and profitability of U.S. coal-fired power plants will change dramatically in the near-term. Resource Data International Inc.
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.
Mergers & Acquisitions
CP&L + Florida Progress. Carolina Power & Light announced Aug. 23 that it would purchase Florida Progress Corp. for $5.3 billion in a combination that would create the nation's ninth-largest utility in terms of generating capacity, with $6.7 billion in annual revenues and 2.5 million customers in three states. CP&L would pay a premium (between 16.5 percent and 21 percent) over the pre-announcement share price of FP stock.
Commissioner Lauren "Bubba" McDonald of the Georgia Public Service Commission was appointed to a three-year term on the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners' (NARUC) Committee on Electricity.
Peabody Group named Jiri Nemec, previously group executive of Northern Appalachian operations, group executive of Midwest operations. Nemec replaced Mathew A. Haaga, who resigned. James A. Beck Jr., previously group executive of Southern Appalachian operations, was appointed to oversee all of Peabody's Appalachian operations in West Virginia.
California again is the proving ground. Analysts see DG as the biggest issue since the PUC first mapped its "vision" for retail competition.