Calendar of Events

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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Pipeline Restructuring: Slicing a Shrinking Pie

Bruce W. Radford

THE FERC TAKES SUGGESTIONS ON THE FUTURE OF THE GAS INDUSTRY.

Earlier this year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission opened a discussion of issues facing the natural gas industry. Its aim? To set "regulatory goals and priorities" for the era following from Order 636, issued in 1992. %n1%n

To gather input, the FERC scheduled a two-day public conference. It asked for comments on a myriad of topics, ranging from cost-of-service rates to hourly gas pricing and services.

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.

Blue-Flame Blues: Gas Pilots Sputter at Burnertip

Joseph F. Schuler, Jr.

As marketers discover, some LDCs keep a strong grip on the residential class.

Michael Meath of Agway Energy Products has a dream. A dream to tap the 4.5 million natural gas customers in New York State, supplying commodity and then, other services.

New York state unbundled gas rates in March 1996, with new tariffs approved later that year. Since then, just 11,000 customers out of 4.5 million (em less than half a percent (em have decided to use aggregated transportation service.

Not all New York utilities have filed customer aggregation programs, however.

Off Peak

Follow the arrows as California's direct access workshops map out who will have access to electric customer data.

In its latest order implementing direct access for electric customers, the California Public Utilities Commission told Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric to conduct workshops to recommend rules on the release of customer information in a deregulated electric industry.

The PUC offered guidelines.

Joules

Follow the arrows as California's direct access workshops map out who will have access to electric customer data.

In its latest order implementing direct access for electric customers, the California Public Utilities Commission told Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric to conduct workshops to recommend rules on the release of customer information in a deregulated electric industry.

The PUC offered guidelines.

Far From Closure: No Consensus Yet on Accounting Proposal for Decommissioning

John S. Ferguson

In aiming to make financial statements more meaningful, will FASB instead make them indecipherable?

By mid-summer, a total of 123 companies had cranked out some 574 pages of comments, detailing exactly what they thought of the accounting rules proposed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to cover the closure or removal of certain long-lived assets. %n1%n The FASB's"Exposure Draft," issued early last year, had requested comments on eight issues. The respondents answered as requested, but also raised a host of new questions.

What's a Power Plant Worth

Jeffrey P. Price

"Spark spread" sets value, but as prices diverge from system

lambda, merchant plant buyers will be flying blind.

Many power plants will be bought and sold in the next decade. Some utilities will divest power plants as required by regulators; others will sell for strategic reasons. Most of the plants sold likely will become merchant plants, with no guaranteed market for their electric output. Merchant plant activity is already significant and growing. The value of these plants will depend on how well they can perform in an uncertain market.

N.Y. Restructures Gas Rates to Lure Competitive Supplies

Phillip S. Cross

The New York Public Service Commission has directed Consolidated Edison Co. to modify its gas transportation rates to more accurately reflect costs.

The commission said that the tariff revisions mark a "major step" for a service territory where competition between the utility and gas marketers had not yet developed.

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