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Public Utilities Reports

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Southern California Edison

News Digest

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

Business Wire

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.

People

THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS of Virginia Power elected James A. White to the position of senior vice president, human resources. White previously served as senior vice president, human resources for the investment management group of Cigna Corp. He will replace Tom O'Neil, who retires after a 33-year career with the company.

Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) announced the appointment of Tina Kreisher as communications director of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Kreisher previously served as deputy director of the Washington d.c. office of Gov.

FERC's Plan for Electric Competition

Wallace Edward Brand

WHY IS ELECTRICITY COMPETITION NOT WORKING? The principal reason is the failure of Order 888 to accommodate the economic and technological constraints of wholesale power markets.

Soon after Congress passed the Energy Policy Act of 1992, to give authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to compel electric utilities under its jurisdiction to wheel power for others, the FERC correctly recognized that piecemeal wheeling orders wouldn't work well without a tariff. A tariff would make the service quickly available to the user without the need for time-consuming negotiation.

California's Electric Market: Are Customers Necessary?

Robert McCullough

A FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION UNDER CALIFORNIA's NEW electricity framework is, "Where have all the suppliers gone?" At a recent industry symposium, one large customer noted during negotiations with competitive energy suppliers that all five finalists had disappeared. The experience at my firm has been so draconian, but I have found that it is not unusual for half of the finalists to disappear in the bargaining. And when I say "disappear," I'm talking about something more extreme than simply reaching an irreconcilable difference.

News Digest

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.

BPA, TVA, Salt River: Playing Fair in Power Markets?

Courtney Barry

CROSS THE COUNTRY, CRITICISM RISES FROM INVESTOR-owned utilities as public power agencies are drawn into regional or national markets through power pools and the geographic expansion of power marketing activities. Whether these agencies are seen as federally funded or just indirectly subsidized, the complaints remain the same: tax advantages, no reciprocity, exemptions from regulation.

Who really has power over the power? Do public power agencies enjoy an advantage, as private industry claims?

News Digest

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

Courts

ENERGY SUPPORT SERVICES. An Illinois appeals court affirmed a 1997 decision by the state commission that had denied authority to Commonwealth Edison to offer "energy support services," such as design, engineering, construction, analysis and management of electrical power equipment and energy systems. The court made this decision despite the utility's argument that no evidence existed to support the commission's finding that ComEd enjoyed a monopolist's advantage over competitors.

NEV?s Mike Peevey: Meters Make the Market

Bruce W. Radford

AS NEW ENERGY VENTURES, LLC EXPLAINS IN ITS PROMOtional literature, it took a long time in California for electricity competition to move from the category of "wacky idea" to widespread acceptance.

But that was before the California electric market opened in April, and before NEV had formed its New Energy Buyers' Alliance, a consortium of clients for whom NEV buys wholesale energy. The alliance includes associations like the California Retailers Association, Western Growers Association and the Independent Colleges of Southern California.

Pyramid Schemes A Black Eye for Power Retailing?

David Soyka

ON MARCH 26, JUST BEFORE IT OPENED THE STATE'S electricity market at midnight on the 31st, the California Public Utilities Commission announced new interim rules to protect consumers, plus this warning: "Any entity who is considering doing anything contrary to [state law] regarding electric restructuring, and [this] decision adopting such safeguards, should think twice."

Ostensibly, that advice followed from last year's passage of State S.B.

News Digest

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

MICHIGAN CHOICE APPEAL. Michigan Attorney General Frank Kelley filed an appeal in the Michigan Court of Appeals of the Michigan PSC's Jan. 14 rehearing order (News Digest, March 15, 1998, p. 18) adopting a phase-in schedule for electric restructuring and retail choice for Consumers Energy and Detroit Edison. Kelley alleged that the order fails to create a competitive generation market or foster lower rates. He called it an "outrage," that gave the utilities everything they wanted. Case Nos. u-11290 et al., Feb. 13, 1998 (Mich.P.S.C.).

NEW HAMPSHIRE RESTRUCTURING. The U.S.

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